Blog 1: Mr. Jim Wehtje

I am a third year student in the Imaging and Photographic Technology program, and have a background in Nursing. I have not decided on what I plan to do post-graduation. However, Photomicroscopy seems interesting, as long as I can incorporate my medical background with it.

How does Scientific Photography differentiate itself from other types of photography? I think that is an interesting question, because I think there is a little bit of Science in every photograph taken.

My first blog entry shows the work of Mr. Jim Wehtje. Mr. Wehtje has been creating x-ray photographs since 1996. His specialty is small-object transmissive radiography. You will find that a lot of his images are of natural subjects.

The photograph that I chose to share with you is of a Water lily.

X-ray image of an 'Electra' water lily (Nymphaea 'Electra', color on black) by Jim Wehtje, photo specialist in x-ray art and design images.
X-ray image of an ‘Electra’ water lily (Nymphaea ‘Electra’, color on black) by Jim Wehtje, photo specialist in x-ray art and design images.

Below is the link to Jim Wehtje’s website:

Scientific Image

I am a second year Biomedical Communications major. I am from Brighton, New York, about 20 minutes away from campus. Right now I am interested in microscopy, but I am not sure if I want to specialize in that field.

I believe that a scientific image differentiates itself from other genres of photography because it illustrates scientific information in a compelling way. A scientific image is something that can tell you something as well as being ascetically pleasing to one’s eye.

I chose a photograph called “Red Sponge Coral,” by Norman J. Barker an Associate Professor of Pathology and Art as Applied Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Barker specializes mainly in macro, natural science photography, and photomicroscopy. He has had much of his work published in textbooks, journals and had photographs displayed in museums. Mr. Barker also has published books, including his most recent with Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue titled Hidden Beauty: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science.

I was drawn to Norman Barker’s work because of the way that he captures a specimen. He is able to take a small sample of something and magnify it to show its inner beauty. I believe that is what he did with his photograph “Red Sponge Coral,” this image is very geometrical and captures your eye. I believe that this photograph illustrates scientific photography very well.

Red Sponge Coral
Red Sponge Coral by Norman J. Barker

Norman J. Barker


My First Post – Featuring Viktor Sykora

I am Katherine, a third year biomedical photographic communications major from Boston, Massachusetts! I am most interested in forensic photography, and I am working towards a minor in criminal justice.

My first post features the work of Viktor Sykora, an award winning scientific photographer and researcher in the Czech Republic.  He has degrees in both molecular biology and genetics, and is currently focusing his professional career on regulating and observing the changes in genetic expression during hypoxia (a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching bodily tissues).  He focuses mainly on Scanning electron microscope images when photographing specimens, but also likes to use the Scanning electron microscope to create fine art images.

The scientific image conveys information, while being aesthetically pleasing.  Scientific images help to explain scientific theories or show details of a specimen that may not be able to be seen by the naked eye.  There is often very little post processing done to these images, as to prevent compromising of the information being conveyed. The exception to this is Scanning electron microscope images, where color is often added to the black and white images to make them more dynamic.

The image I have included is a scanning electron microscope image of an Agrimonia eupatorium seed, which is more commonly known as sticklewort. The image is composed well and colorful, which makes it aesthetically pleasing, and the subject matter shows details that are unable to be seen by the human eye.

Agrimonia Eupatoria SEM
Agrimonia Eupatoria SEM image

Image provided by:

Viktor Sykora                                                                                                  1st Faculty of Medicine                                                                          Charles University in Prague

Blog Post 1: The Science Image

To introduce myself, I am a second year student in the Imaging and Photographic Technology program, but I have a background in fine art photography.

Scientific photography differentiates itself from other forms of photography by using the same standardized structure of image making and editing.

My first blog entry features the work of Norman Barker. Trained in fine art photography, his personal work of medical imagery takes on an artistic approach. Rather than using the standardized techniques of making a scientific image, Barker’s work focuses on composition and pattern.

Last year, Barker gave a presentation on a brief history and the natural beauty of biomedical photography at RIT. Barker’s exhibition at RIT’s William Harris gallery from his recently published book, Hidden Beauty, was what originally drew me to his work.

The photograph that I chose to include in this post is a high magnification image of osteoporosis. It is interesting to see how such a degenerative and serious condition contains such intricate and delicate patterns.

nbarker_07Image of Osteoporosis by Norman Barker

Cross Sections of Photographic Paper and Film

SEM Kodak X-Ray FilmPhotographic Color Paper Layers



My first blog post features images by David Malin who is a scientific photographer who is most known for his astrological images working with the Angelo-Australian Observatory (Australian Astronomical Observatory). Malin helped develop methods to extract faint details from photographic plates used in the creation of true-color photographs of deep space objects. He accomplished this by imaging in three monochromatic wavelengths then combining the images before the rise of Photoshop. After retiring from the AAO in 2001 he is currently focusing on his business David Malin Images which is an extensive library of scientific photographs. His work is extremely unique because it spans both silver based and digital scientific imagery.

The two images above, that I received from Malin, are excellent examples of scientific photographs that I find very intriguing. The Scanning Electron Microscope image (left) is a cross section of X-Ray film that clearly shows the different layers of emulsion and adhesive, as well as the base of the film. The photographic paper cross-section (right) is a developed piece of photographic paper that has been imaged at 1300x magnification to show the different layers of the light sensitive paper.

I chose these images specifically because it demonstrates an insight into analog photography that most people do not appreciate today. Scientific photography differentiates itself from other types of photography because its imagery documents and provides new insight to further our understanding of the subject. Scientific photography achieves this by utilizing standardized imaging practices such as documentation, globalized editing, and is technically well done.

David Malin Images: David Malin, David Miller, Akira Fujii, Australian Astronomical Observatory

RIT Microscopy class dedicates its spring semester to Michael Davidson

I first met Michael Davidson in 1989 when I was a judge at the Nikon Small World competition. I met him a second and last time in 2009, when I was again a judge of the Nikon Small World competition. I knew immediately, he might be the most passionate microscopist that I had ever met. He was truly in a league unto himself in productivity. He began the Molecular Expressions website  June 19, 1998. What a tremendous resource. As time passed, the website grew and grew and grew. Companies such as Nikon, Zeiss, Leica, and Olympus supported his work and enabled Michael to continue to share his knowledge, and build his lab and the Molecular Expressions website. He did so many great things.

While we were not close friends, we did collaborate a few times. Michael wrote a chapter for the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography -fourth edition.  I was the editor-in-chief of that book. His contribution to the book and so many other things were extraordinay.

You can read his obituary by following this link

As a personal tribute, I am dedicating this semester’s microscopy work to Michael and what he meant to this field

Professor Michael Peres




A virtual class notebook

Welcome to the Class Notes Blog. I created this Blog to share work from me or my students about things we are learning. At the time, I wanted to start the Blog ( January 2016) to provide 22 students studying microscopy an opportunity to explore the subject of Blogging and share their new knowledge and skills. I asked each student to publish three entries to this Blog by mid March when my role in the class was finished. Their first post was due February 5, 2016. The post featured a science image or maker that they found particularly interesting. I asked them to gain permission from the images’ creator before they could use it on the site.  I hope you enjoy reading this experiment sharing my classroom activities.
Michael Peres 

This photomicrograph features Merck® Foradil asthma medicine. It was photographed using a polarized light microscope. The solid pill of the medicine was dissolved in water and then plated onto microscopy slides to allow the formation of crystals. The colors shared above demonstrate the presence of birefringent properties of the chemicals contained in the medicine. Photograph: Professor Michael Peres.