- Photographer Christian Voigt travels to museums in Europe to take photographs of extinct dinosaurs, mastodons, and saber-toothed cats.
- Voigt uses a black cloth backdrop and natural light to capture each skeleton individually and in detail.
- His goal is to "bring these creatures back to life" through his photography, Voigt said.
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Traveling back in time to the age of the dinosaurs is beyond the reach of science. But that doesn’t stop photographer Christian Voigt from trying to re-animate creatures from the Mesozoic era through the lens of his camera.
Voigt has traveled to five natural history museums across Europe to photograph dinosaurs and other extinct animals’ skeletons, producing a collection of images that depict these long-dead creatures in a new light.
"I sought to really bring these animals to life," Voigt told Business Insider, adding, "I have to remind people that these aren’t Hollywood images, but rather real animals that lived millions of years ago."
But photographing museum specimens presents unique challenges for a photographer, since the skeletons cannot be shifted, posed, or removed from their display cases. Museums also restrict the use of additional lightning, so Voigt photographs the dinosaurs using only natural light and relies on a black back-drop to separate each animal from its neighbors.
"I can’t touch them, or ask them to move a little to left, so I have to look for the best angle," he said.
Voigt said he was inspired to work with dinosaur skeletons after a visit to the Natural History Museum in London some years ago. Seeing the displays made him want to photograph each specimen individually.
"It all started with wanting to bring these animals out of their glass boxes," he said. "In a museum, when you look at certain collections of animals and skeletons, they’re always very packed together."
He said he sometimes spends an hour finding and capture a single, ideal shot. The resulting images reveal every groove, divot, and eye socket of the skeletal bodies of creatures like the triceratops, T. rex, and stegosaurus.
Here are 15 breath-taking images from Voigt’s collection.
This Tyrannosaurus rex resides in the Senckenberg Naturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany.
The T. rex had orange-sized eyes that faced forward like a hawk’s and were spread apart on its face, giving it superior depth perception during a hunt.
Voigt only photographs original fossils, not replicas or reconstructions that use plastic or plaster to fill in gaps. "I can see the difference, and I won’t use those skeletons," he said.
Voigt photographed this T. Rex, Rocky, at the Dinosaur Museum Altmühltal in Denkendorf, Germany.
A full-grown Tyrannosaurus rex weighed about 6 to 9 tons. It stood about 12 to 13 feet tall at the hip and was about 40 to 43 feet long.
Tristan, a T. rex whose skull resides in the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, Germany, boasts impressive teeth. "I’m absolutely in love with details," Voigt said. "That’s a big part of my work."
The predator used its massive jaws, filled with sharp teeth that constantly grew back, to hunt prey. The T. rex could bite through solid bone and digest it.
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