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The interior life of ammunition

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  June 20, 2013 08:53 AM

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Some things lose their vitality up close but ammunition is not one of them. Austrian photographer Sabine Pearlman has created a series of photographs of cross-sections of firearms cartridges. The cartridges are amazingly diverse in their composition: long and slender, short and stumpy, packed with ball bearings, metal rods, and all sorts of other suggestive material in their tips. But they also share enough features in common to mark them as members of the same menacing species: brass casing, gun powder in the rear, a narrowing aspect as you go from back to front. Pearlman's photographs are mesmerizing and also tragic. They give ammunition integrity, a life apart from all the things that people do with them.

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Images courtesy of Sabine Pearlman.

Update 06/24/13: The first version of this post incorrectly referred to the subjects of Pearlman's photographs as "bullets." As a number of readers pointed out, her photographs are in fact of ammunition cartridges, which contain bullets.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

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Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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