The southern Arizona landscape reminded Dr. André Bruwer and his wife Hilary of their birthplace, South Africa. The couple loved hiking into the Sonoran desert, it was home away from home. Both delighted in the cacti, desert plants and terrain--which was reminiscent of South Africa. Along the hikes, Dr. Bruwer would collect plants or objects from nature that seemed interesting. Unbeknownst to Dr. Bruwer, it would be from these hikes that he began collecting specimens to X-ray for Skiagraphics™.

 Dr. André Bruwer’s roots in his native country of South Africa go back over 300 years to his French Huguenot forbears. He earned a medical degree from the University of Cape Town and served in the South African army as a doctor during World War II. During his time in the army he read the book The Doctors Mayo. This inspired him to move his wife and young son to America and study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1947. In 1957 he moved again, to Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Bruwer would go on to practice radiology in Tucson for over thirty years.

 While doing research in the 1950’s on his two-volume history of radiology, Classic Descriptions in Diagnostic Roentgenology, Dr. Bruwer came across crude images of plants and shells taken by early experimenters with X-rays. After spending years researching, Dr. Bruwer became an expert in the relatively new field. When he acquired a small and highly sensitive X-ray machine from Hewlett Packard™ for a research project, he began taking X-rays of objects he had brought in from hiking or even from his garden. The X-ray images created in the machine fascinated Dr. Bruwer, and soon he began adding his own artistic touch. This would be the beginning of Skiagraphics™.

 Skiagraphics™ allows a new view into nature. Seedpods reveal their tiny tenants. Petals and leaves, rendered transparent by the X-rays, overlap in pleasing patterns. And, the sealed and usually invisible compartments of a Chambered Nautilus shell are on open display.


             Excellent PBS segment on Skiagraphics