Professor Martin Richardson

Job: Emeritus Professor

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Research group(s): The Holographic Research Group

Address: De Montfort University, Clephan Building 0.38, Leicester, LE1 9BH, United Kingdom

T: 0116 255 1551 ex 8678




Personal profile

Martin Richardson gained the worlds first PhD in display holography from The Royal College of Art in 1988. In 1999 he was awarded the Millennium Fellowship by the UK Millennium Government Commission and in 2002 was awarded the prestigious Shearwater Foundation Award for Achievements in Holographic Art. He is currently Professor of Modern Holography at De Montfort University, Leicester, where he leads the Holographic Research Centre. In 2009 he achieved Associate Membership to the RPS and in 2009 was awarded the ‘Saxby’ medal for his contributions to 3-D imaging. He is a visiting Professor at the Kun-Shan University in the Graduate School of Visual Communication Design, Taiwan and is the Senior External Examiner at Newcastle College, Leeds Metropolitan University. Since 2004 he has been Chair of Holographic Art to the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) in the USA.

Martin is regarded as an imaging pioneer. He has made holograms of many famous people, including film directors Martin Scorsese and Alan Parker as well as the fine artist Sir Peter Blake and writer Will Self to name but a few. His work with rock star David Bowie, for a project using 3-D promotional material for the album ‘hours’, is well known and all of which has been documented in his first published book ‘Spacebomb: Holograms and Lenticular 1984 – 2004’. His second authored book, ‘The Prime Illusion: Modern Holography In The New Age Of Digital Media’ provides a theory that future design processes will need methods of three-dimensional print, requiring timeliness of response, flexibility and access to digital holograms on demand. These characteristics imply a geographically distributed and collaborative form of information dissemination activity and the exchange of collaborative ideas presently tacking place within the digital convergence. ‘The Prime Illusion’ was published in 2007 and in 2009 translated and published by the Beijing University Communication Press, China. His holograms of people are exhibited around the world and can be seen in two National collections including The National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford and The National Science Museum, London. He is a regular contributor to imaging periodicals and peer reviewed conference proceedings both nationally and internationally. Martins latest book ‘3-D Capture for Display Technologies Including Television & Cinematography’ was commissioned by IGI Publishing, USA, and will be available in February 2012.

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Publications and outputs

    dc.title: THE ANDROID HEART Richardson, Martin dc.description.abstract: When technological development surpasses its original intention, making the original definition redundant, the need to adapt, or transcend, definition is an imperative. For example, “hologram” is defined in many dictionaries as a three-dimensional image of a photographic surface. However, it’s etymology, as used in imaging processing for three-dimensional displays, often loses its scientific definition because descriptive language falls short of the technological advances being made.
  • As The Two Roads Diverged I Took The One Less Travelled, And That Has Made All The Difference
    dc.title: As The Two Roads Diverged I Took The One Less Travelled, And That Has Made All The Difference Richardson, Martin dc.description.abstract: Is it possible that holograms will one day communicate with us in real-time using artificial intelligence (AI) to shape reality itself? With Microsoft HOLO-lens ™promising tomorrow’s world today and the future-trends of ‘True Colour’ holograms and beyond, the continuing developments of photonics promise to satisfy our innate need for the mythical, the unobtainable, the impossible. The author suggests that holographic imaging draws upon our evolutionary DNA to drive the science behind the development of photonic technology and wave front reconstruction. A passionate Affair de Coeur (affair of the heart) between Art and Science, without which its evolution would not be possible. The paper offers thoughts regarding the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and holography. As the science fiction novelist William Gibson famously observed “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed”, a truism when placed within the context of holography. (The title of this paper is paraphrased from the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ by the American poet Robert Frost. It uses this metaphor to illustrate some thoughts, reflections and contemplations on AI and colour holography.)
  • CυBE: Coherent υ Beam Educator
    dc.title: CυBE: Coherent υ Beam Educator Richardson, Martin; Sureshkumar, Vivian Amos dc.description.abstract: Holography has advanced rapidly over the years due to technical melioration in the field of optics. Three-dimensional imaging has gained importance to upgrade the existing imaging and display system. Holography has become one of the branches of optics gaining significant importance with a vast number of technical and industrial applications. When we address holography the first thing that comes to mind is projecting a three dimensional object on thin air. The word holography has always been confused between peppers ghost effect. The famous English phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”, means a complex idea can be conveyed by a single picture. The basic principle of holography sounds complex with all its technical terms. This paper aims to explain the concept of the CυBE: Coherent υ Beam Educator that contains a transmission hologram illuminated with a laser diode. This paper summarizes the construction details of the CυBE and the optical setup to record the transmission hologram. It also briefs the circuit connections for the laser diode that’s works with an aid of a push button. When viewer presses the push button the original scene is reconstructed. It provides details regarding the angle of reference beam at recording and how the reference beam is compensated at reconstruction. Also this paper highlights how the magnification of the recorded image is affected with respect to the path length of the laser diode inside the box during reconstruction of the recorded hologram. © (2017) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only. dc.description: The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Holographic Space: Presence and Absence in Time
    dc.title: Holographic Space: Presence and Absence in Time Richardson, Martin; Chang, Yin-Ren dc.description.abstract: In terms of contemporary art, time-based media generally refers to artworks that have duration as a dimension and unfold to the viewer over time, that could be a video, slide, film, computer-based technologies or audio. As part of this category, holography pushes this visual-oriented narrative a step further, which brings a real 3D image to invite and allow audiences revisiting the scene of the past, at the moment of recording in space and time. Audiences could also experience the kinetic holographic aesthetics through constantly moving the viewing point or illumination source, which creates dynamic visual effects. In other words, when the audience and hologram remain still, the holographic image can only be perceived statically. This unique form of expression is not created by virtual simulation; the principal of wavefront reconstruction process made holographic art exceptional from other time-based media. This project integrates 3D printing technology to explore the nature of material aesthetics, transiting between material world and holographic space. In addition, this series of creation also reveals the unique temporal quality of a hologram’s presence and absence, an ambiguous relationship existing in this media. © (2017) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only. dc.description: Copyright 2017 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.
  • Holographic data visualization: using synthetic full-parallax holography to share information
    dc.title: Holographic data visualization: using synthetic full-parallax holography to share information Richardson, Martin; Dalenius, T.; Rees, S. J. dc.description.abstract: This investigation explores representing information through data visualization using the medium holography. It is an exploration from the perspective of a creative practitioner deploying a transdisciplinary approach. The task of visualizing and making use of data and “big data” has been the focus of a large number of research projects during the opening of this century. As the amount of data that can be gathered has increased in a short time our ability to comprehend and get meaning out of the numbers has been brought into attention. This project is looking at the possibility of employing threedimensional imaging using holography to visualize data and additional information. To explore the viability of the concept, this project has set out to transform the visualization of calculated energy and fluid flow data to a holographic medium. A Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model of flow around a vehicle, and a model of Solar irradiation on a building were chosen to investigate the process. As no pre-existing software is available to directly transform the data into a compatible format the team worked collaboratively and transdisciplinary in order to achieve an accurate conversion from the format of the calculation and visualization tools to a configuration suitable for synthetic holography production. The project also investigates ideas for layout and design suitable for holographic visualization of energy data. Two completed holograms will be presented. Future possibilities for developing the concept of Holographic Data Visualization are briefly deliberated upon. © (2017) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only. dc.description: The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Silent Images in Dialogue
    dc.title: Silent Images in Dialogue Richardson, Martin; Azevedo, I.; Sandford-Richardson, E.; Bernardo, L. M.; Crespo, H. dc.description.abstract: In this series of digital art holograms and lenticulars, we used the HoloCam Portable Light System with the 35 mm cameras, Canon IS3 and the Canon 700D, to capture the image information, it was then edited on the computer using Motion 5 and Final Cut Pro X programs. We are presenting several actions in the digital holographic space. The figures are in dialogue within the holographic space and the viewer, in front of the holographic plate. In holography the time of the image is the time of the viewer present. And that particular feature is what distinguishes digital holography from other media dc.description: Conference Paper
  • 2D - 3D - 4D
    dc.title: 2D - 3D - 4D Richardson, Martin dc.description.abstract: Apart from being a security device holography has the potential to become the ultimate 3-D format within the next few decades as the holographic image can be called a true replica indistinguishable from reality. But there is much more to holographic imagery than mere replication. Holography had its beginnings in 1948. Denis Gabor, a Hungarian-born physicist working for the electrical company British Thompson Huston based in Rugby, UK, who was atempting to improve the resolution of electron microscope images and hit upon the idea of recording the actual radiated wavefront emanating from the object. As a beam of electrons could not at the time be made coherent he used green-filtered light light from a mercury vapour lamp. In a seminal paper describing his findings (Gabor 1949) he explained how light of a single frequency carried all the information describing the object contained in the light wavefront and soon after named his invention holography, the word holography comes from the Greek words ὅλος (hólos; "whole") and γραφή (grafē; "writing" or "drawing"). This, he argued, could be recorded on a photographic emulsion. He succeeded in achieving this after a fashion, though his mercury lamp produced a band of wavelengths nowhere near as narrow as he would have desired. As a result of this large bandwidth his earliest images had to be very small two-dimensional transparencies no larger than a pinhead, and even these were blurred, and distorted by an unwanted complementary image directly in front. But although his experiment was crude and unconvincing his theory was sound, and he was eventually to receive the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971 for his ingenuity, though others had needed to find methods of making his ideas workable. Today holograms appear everywhere, on bank cards, passes and any document that needs security protection. Holography also finds applications in the decorative trade, and in engineering, where it is used in nondestructive testing in the form of holographic interferometry. dc.description: Monograph
  • Holograms: Principles and Techniques
    dc.title: Holograms: Principles and Techniques Richardson, Martin; Wiltshire, J. dc.description.abstract: With the legacy of the inventions of Lippmann, Gabor et al, we are lucky enough to have been the generation who have experienced the dawn of the age of holography first hand. Still, when we think of holograms, we think of the future, a place full of wondrous inventions. A place where driverless cars defy gravity, civilization is established on Mars, or cities are built under earth’s oceans. And then, of course, holographic images that materialize in thin air and communicate with each other using artificial intelligence, indistinguishable from human consciousness. Such is the legacy of science fiction. In reality, this vision of the future may fall far beyond the laws of physics, but nevertheless there are some truly astounding developments taking place right now in the field of holography right now. I know, because as a research professor at De Montfort University, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing some of the world’s most incredible three-dimensional holograms and it’s a glimpse into a future I want to share with you! dc.description: Textbook providing technical advanced techniques for making holograms
  • South Croxted
    dc.title: South Croxted Richardson, Martin dc.description.abstract: South Croxted is one of the longest roads in South London. It is also the boundary between the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. It is an A-Road, the A2199, and the main north-south arterial road for West Dulwich meeting the east-west A205 South Circular next to West Dulwich railway station. It comprises two roads; the northern half is Croxted Road and at its southern end, after Park Hall Road, it becomes South Croxted. It stretches from the dizzy heights of Crystal Palace, where one can admire an unbroken vista of the City of London from Gipsy Hill, down toward Herne Hill where its once famous Velodrome played host to the 1948 Olympic cycling track races and beyond that the constantly changing ethnic mix of Brixton. During the tenebrous sixties, and lucent seventies, South Croxted was bought to the attention of the world press reporting on underworld crime and an IRA assignation attempt. We can never know the true story, the factually of what occurred in South Croxted because so much was hidden, or has been forgotten. Only through letters, photographs and newspaper articles can we extract a history, together with my own account of that harrowing journey through early memoir. In unraveling my father’s involvement I hoped to understand my own, hoped to find something that made sense of that time, but instead found a place far more unpredictable than one could ever imagine. The road was far from straight…
  • The Coherent Beam Educator
    dc.title: The Coherent Beam Educator Richardson, Martin; Amos, V. dc.description: Conference Paper

Full listing of Martin Richardson's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

See a video on the current research being undertaken.

Research interests/expertise

Art & Technology, Modern Optics, Holograms

Honours and awards

The Royal Photographic Societies ‘Saxby Medal 2009’, in recognition for achievements and contributions to the advancement of holographic imaging. An award for achievement in the field of three-dimensional imaging, endowed by Graham Saxby Hon FRPS, The Royal Photographic International Awards are offered through peer review annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to the art and science of photography.

Millennium Fellowship Award - UK Government

Membership of external committees

The Royal Photographic Society Holography Committee Group. 1990 – current.

Membership of professional associations and societies

Associate Member of The Royal Photographic Society (ARPS)

Forthcoming events

3-D Cinematography & Video Course. Three courses are operated every year for the film industry together with our commercial partners PANASONIC.

Recent research outputs

Research journals:

  • Richardson. M & Wiltshire. J. “HOLOGRAPHIC SECURITY THREAD AND MICRO EMBOSSING TECHNIQUES AS APPLIED TO POLYESTER FIBRE: A Method for Embossing an Efficient Diffractive Microstructure into the Surface of Non-Planar Material”. Royal Photographic Society Journal of Imaging Science. Publication No.2 edition 2011.

 Non-research publications:

  • Richardson, M. “Digital Holograms; Entering The Fifth Dimension”, MONTAGE – Journal of The Picture Research Association. Front cover illustration. Article pages 16-17. Issue 123, Autumn 2010.  

Conference papers.

  • Smith. S, Harvey. K, Richardson. M, Blyth. J,"Optimizing Diffraction efficiency for reflection holograms with HARMAN holographic emulsions while maintaining narrow-band reconstruction", Practical Holography XXV, SPIE proceedings 7957, 2011.
  • Smith. S, Harvey. K, Richardson. M, Blyth. J,"Optimizing Diffraction efficiency for transmission holograms with HARMAN holographic emulsions while maintaining narrow-band reconstruction", Practical Holography XXV, SPIE proceedings 7957, 2011.
  • Oliveira. S and Richardson. M. “Artistic Expression in the Development of New Technology for Three Dimensional Imaging”, Practical Holography XXV, SPIE proceedings 7957, 2011.
  • Azevedo. I and Richardson, M, “Changing Thoughts: A Series Of Digital Art Holograms”. ARCA-EUAC, University School of Arts of Coimbra, Portugal, Research Institute for Design, Media and Culture. Practical Holography XXV, SPIE proceedings 7957, 2011.
  • Oliveira, S. Richardson, M. “Real Time 3-D Video Capture Applied to Fine Art Practice”. International Conference Cinema, Art, Technology, Communication Support, Formats and New “Media”.  

Authored Book Publications

Consultancy work

Production and design of the Holographic Table. Short courses in 3-D for industrial partners. Panasonic has contributed a significant amount of 3-D equipment.

Internally funded research project information

RIF. Awarded first round funding for ‘IC3D2 - Integrated Capture & 3D Display v 2’Valued £11,870. A collaborative pilot project cross faculty development of an integrated auto-stereoscopic capture & display system. This was the catalyst to consolidate key strands of research collaboration between the two groups that will make a significant contribution to the research.

Published patents

Smith. S, Richardson. M, Brown. S, United Kingdom Patent Application 0912696.2. ‘Multi-Spectral Holographic Security Marker, Method for its Manufacture and Holographic Security System.

Professional esteem indicators

Peer Review Panel

The Optical Society of America,
2010 Massachusetts Ave.,
NW Washington,
DC 20036,

Tel: +1.202.416.1914,
Fax: +1.202.416.6129

Editorial Board of 3D Research

3D Display Research Centre (3DRC),
3D Fusion Industry Consortium (3DFIC),
447-1 Wolgye-Dong,
Seoul 139-701,

Tel: +82-2-940-5118,
: +82-2-940-5523

Case studies

TSB KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership’s) two successfully completed, the second of which was nominated for the prestigious Lord Stafford Award and was short-listed in the category of “Innovation Achieved”.

Documentary about the 'Crystal Skull'. Martin Richardson recorded a hologram of a Crystal Skull for a National Geographic film. Broadcast October 2011. ZigZag Productions/National Geographic have granted De Montfort University a non-exclusive perpetual world-wide license that allows De Montfort to use the final cut footage relating to Martin's work for the purposes of student recruitment, teaching, research and promotion of the University generally.

Exhibition. “Luminous Windows” 01.11.10 – 01.02.11. An exhibition of digital holograms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Holography and Spatial Imaging and Emerging Technologies Initiatives. MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

2009 ‘Time, Space & Movement’, Peterborough Digital Arts, Arts Council of Great Britain. Touring show

2010 ‘Dimensioned’, The Jonathan Ross 241 Gallery, London

2009 ‘Ingenious Media’, Ingenious Media Offices, London

2010 ‘The Haunted Image’, Phoenix White Cube Gallery, Leicester

2012 ‘Imaginations’, YOTA Space held in St Petersburg, Russia