Don Dudenbostel first achieved recognition as a journalistic photographer at the University of Tennessee. His work was published in Newsweek, Esquire, and other national publications, and one was among Esquire Magazine's top photos of the year. In 1975 he studied with Ansel Adams. He received earned his Tennessee Professional Certification in photography in 1981 and earned his master of Photography degree in 1985.
My father and grandfather were both accomplished amateur photographers. Watching my father develop and print black and photographs seemed like magic. At the age of five, I took my mother's 620 Ansco box camera in hand and made my first black and white photos. My interest grew rapidly from that moment until I received a Brownie for my seventh birthday. I shot so much film that my father took me by the hand and led me to the darkroom and started teaching me the art of black and white printing.
As a young student I became very interested in science. Growing up in Oak Ridge and Knoxville, I had abundant resources for a student of science. I became interested in how I might be able to blend my photographic and science interests. After 40 years, I still have a passion for photography and science. Through x-ray I am able to capture the hidden inner beauty of a plant or shell or even a man-made object.
The Technique of Creating Radiographs
Dudenbostel uses different equipment, depending on the subject being x-rayed. For images of flora, he uses custom-made equipment that emits a very low level of radiation. For shells he uses conventional x-ray equipment. He uses high-speed photographic films and medical mammography film. The specimen is placed directly on top of the film in the position required to see the image. An x-ray tube is placed directly above the specimen image. The resulting radiographic negatives are developed in the traditional photographic method, using a higher contrast developer. The resulting negatives are not well suited to the traditional photographic print process. He therefore makes a high-resolution digital scan and prints the resulting file using an archival carbon-printing system on 100-percent rag watercolor paper.