Exhibit finds ‘Hidden Beauty’ in medical science

Photography showcase explores the artistry and aesthetics of scientific images

Medical scientific images, such as Agar petri dishes, are a visual and critical component in RIT’s William Harris Gallery exhibition of “Hidden Beauty: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science, which runs from Oct. 8 to 31.

Can you imagine a photograph of gallstones—those hard, pebble-like deposits that form in the gallbladder—is visually striking to look at? Or how about several Agar petri dishes filled with growing bacteria?

William Harris Gallery, RIT’s primary photography showcase in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, explores “Hidden Beauty: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science.” The exhibition runs from Oct. 8 to 31, with an opening reception scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the gallery, located on the third floor of RIT’s Frank E. Gannett Hall. Preceding the reception is a talk by Norman Barker, the exhibition co-curator and science photographer, at 5 p.m. in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science Auditorium.

“Hidden Beauty” is a collaborative exhibition and book project led by Barker and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They approached more than 60 medical science professionals to explore the aesthetics and visual representations of medical science—resulting in a collage of images that are routinely used by medical professionals to diagnose illness and disease. Taking center stage in the exhibition are advanced imaging technologies, ranging from scanning electron microscopy to spectral karyotyping.

“At a school that incorporates both the art and science of photography, this exhibition enables both RIT and the Rochester community to see how cutting-edge imaging technologies are expanding our understanding of the realm of medical science due to the technical and aesthetic abilities of the scientific photographer,” said Therese Mulligan, professor and administrative chair of RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. “In our photo sciences program, we are preparing students for careers as scientific imaging professionals, including the medical and life sciences. Our biomedical photographic communications major is the only one of its kind in the United States.”

Administered by RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, William Harris Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment on weekends. The gallery is handicapped accessible and all exhibits are free and open to the public. For more information, call 585-475-2884.

art and design

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