Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Photograph Tiny Things, a TEDx event.

This morning I mentioned that I have been focused on photographing tiny things. In February, I was invited to a TEDx event. You can hear my 10 minute presentation by following this link


Re-discovering photography

During the past few months I have re-discovered photography. That seems odd for a photography professor but it is true. My job took me away from the picture making process for the better part of the last 3 years. As a direct consequence of my winter past time, snowflake photography, I have been motivated to again make new pictures. This has been exciting. I have also taken to promoting my work in the spirit of, "I take pictures of very tine things".

Below is a new photograph I made this week exploring how various pharmaceuticals look under magnification using polarized light. It is a slow process to coax crystals out from the various compounds and much like snowflakes, the outcome is very random. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hidden Beauty Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science

It has been a long time since I posted to this BLOG but this week I wrote a book review and it seemed like a good time to get back on board with this activity.

Hidden Beauty
Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science

By Norman Barker and Christine Iacobuzio- Donahue
Foreword by Bert Vogelstein
Schiffer Publishing

ISBN 978-0-7643-4412-1

Size 8.5 x 11;  113 - color and b/w reproductions

232 pages;  hard cover

Hidden Beauty, written by Norman Barker and Christine Iacobuzio- Donahue is nothing short of spectacular.  Its release is timely and features medical as something different than the intentions of their original creation might have considered. It has been handsomely designed and focused to the general public in a non-medical way but still contains images that are absolute scientific medical facts. When scientific images are viewed outside the environment from which they were created, they often are viewed using different perspectives. No longer is the subject the subject, but rather the structure, design, contrast and other graphical elements become the focal point.  Because of their uniqueness, images from medicine when viewed by the general public who have no frame of reference become simply powerful colors, designs or abstract shapes.  If any of the images in this book included scales, they would immediately be defined as scientific but without scales, they become something else. Elegant, beautiful or compelling become part of the conversation rather than the diagnosis. The images included in this book play off the power of the human imagination and are very exciting to interact with on many levels for readers.  Many images in the book offer to surprise readers exploring the unknown. The duplicity of such images can be often hidden until brought out through projects such as this. Hidden Beauty includes a carefully considered range of images. The image selections by Barker and Iacobuzio- Donahue are complete and excellent examples of imaging technologies both prevalent and relevant today. There are also examples of those technologies that are evolving into the 21st century.  The image choices do not leave the viewer wishing there was more. It provided a complete satisfying and immersive viewing experience for me while perusing the 232 pages.
The book’s treatment of content and captions is excellent. Each image is accompanied by a text passage and is written so that you do not need to be a trained medical professional to understand the subject. The captions are thorough and complete enough to satisfy one’s curiosity but not too long. It is evident that great care was taken in how they were crafted. I particularly like the elegant layout and treatment of the images. The book is easy to relate to. Everyone knows someone who has been touched by many of the diseases contained within the book.
Hidden Beauty represents a powerful example of the interface of applied arts and science.  Each page-spread shares a fascinating image and relevant science facts in non-scientific ways. With the rise of the Internet and other electronic media tools, there is currently an insatiable appetite for electronic images worldwide.  People are very curious about "cool"  and not frequently observed things. This book sits firmly in that category. That being shared, there still remains no good substitute for beautiful four-color reproductions that feature extraordinary and unique images. Very few digital images displayed on contemporary tools can match the tonal scale and richness of well-managed ink on paper reproductions.  The book is an example of very high quality printing. Technically the book is perfect. The craft of the publisher is evident in the quality of the printing, paper and finishing. The book exhibits much attention to detail. This volume will not disappointment and would be a great addition to any library.