Linda Alterwitz | Super Powers | Portfolio ShowCase 12
In 2015, I was given the opportunity to teach thermal photography to hospitalized children at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. For 20 minutes, each child had superpowers, seeing and photographing what others could not see using a thermal camera. We played games of discovery to understand contrasts in temperature and the transfer of heat. The older kids tended to be more willing to take a chance by photographing their hands and arms, and the medical equipment they were attached to. After 20 minutes, I captured a portrait of each child using a high-resolution thermal camera.
Thermal technology is typically used for detecting heat loss in buildings, research, surveillance and detection of chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear and explosive materials. Radiating from these children are the biological commonalities that unite us – breath, sweat, inflammation and the warm circulation of blood. Some of the portraits appear haunting and ghostly, while others glow brightly.
Through the “game” of thermal imaging, I intended to subtly communicate the idea that science helps us see the truth, the inner workings of the world so that we can better understand the body and its needs. There is hope in that understanding.
Linda Alterwitz is an interdisciplinary artist with diverse interests in the fields of medical research and the natural environment. She has exhibited her work in both traditional exhibitions and site-specific installations in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China, Spain, Israel, Greece, and Poland.