thomas mailaender ‘sunburns’ old photographs onto human bodies
all images courtesy of thomas mailaender




for the 128-page, hardcover publication ‘illustrated people‘, french artist thomas mailaender manifests an artistic performance in pictures, illustrating the product of his ephemeral and experimental body artworks.


the images show the result of the artist’s work with UV light: mailaender applied 23 original negatives from the archive of modern conflict’s collection onto the skin of models, before projecting a powerful UV lamp over them. the result reveals a fleeting picture on the skin’s surface, which he photographed just moments before ​​exposure to daylight caused them to disappear.

images from the archive of modern conflict are revealed on the surface of the skin




the physical process of transferring the photo negative onto skin results in a sunburnt effect on the body, which naturally dissipates as it is exposed to daylight. the book comprises these final photographs of this fleeting performance interspersed between a series of black-and-white, archived images from the AMC collection.

original negatives from the archive are transferred onto the body

pictures are exposed on the skin for a temporary amount of time 

a powerful UV lamp projected the negatives onto the skin


a picture of a railroad can be seen in the stomach’s surface 

arms and legs are ‘sunburnt’ by photographic negatives