In a previous post, I noted that most of my work as DigitalCommunications Editor takes place online, rarely expanding beyond the reachesof my keyboard. But that was five months ago, and six months since I got myfirst in-depth view of the whole Penn Medicine enterprise while shootingphotographs across campus for the Day in the Life photo project. Since then,I've taken on an additional role as “in-house photographer.” Now, I find myselfgetting out from behind the keyboard pretty frequently, accompanying pressofficers to various events and happenings around Penn Medicine's facilities toturn my camera’s lens toward a wide variety of happenings in the patient careand research world. It has been wonderful — a welcome development.
In what willhopefully be a regular series on the Penn Medicine News Blog, I'd like to sharesome of the photos I've taken over the past month or so, giving readers aglimpse behind the scenes of events – both the everyday and the extraordinary –that happen here. Some of these photos you may already have seen floatingaround in an online slideshow or accompanying an article on various Penn sites,others have not previously seen the light of day. All of them represent anotherexperience I'm thankful to have had here at Penn Medicine.
Anatomy Lab with James White, PhD
Takingphotos in the anatomy lab can present a few hurdles for a photographer, thefirst and most important being that we have to respect these individuals, whohave donated their bodies to help educate the next generation of doctors, bynot including them in photos. Another concern was ducking under the cameras ofthe film crew behind me, as they were shooting footage for a Coursera course onanatomy. At one point, Dr. White riffed for a while about the anatomy of theforearm while the camera crew and I hovered around. That’s what you’re seeing here.
Match Day 2013
MatchDay is huge for medicalstudents, as it's when they find out where they're getting placed for theirresidency. At Penn Medicine,the Match Day ceremony very strongly resembles graduation practice. Everybody'sgiddy, joking around and keeping the mood light. As envelopes are opened andthese physicians-in-the-making discover where they're going to spend their nextfew years learning the trade, the pent-up energy explodes into cheering,hugging, the slapping of backs, and yeah — even a few tears.
Theceremony's wonderful, without a doubt, but getting shots at it can be a hecticaffair. There are so many different stories unfolding around you that for everygood moment you're catching through the viewfinder, you feel as if you'remissing twenty or thirty more. Still, the ubiquity of smartphones andpoint-and-shoot cameras means almost no one moment at any event like this goesuncaptured by someone, so you have to just be happy with those momentsyou're lucky enough to get. You can find the other shots I took on UPenn.edu aspart of their 2013Match Day coverage.
Inside the Operating Room: Brain Surgery
There arecertain things you never quite picture yourself doing, and for me one of thosethings was standing inside an operating room during brain surgery. It's toughto explain the feeling, really — sort of a humble excitement, I guess is thebest way to put it. The best way to handle that feeling, meanwhile, is to makenote of the surgeon's focused calm. In this case it was Steven Brem, MD,professor of Neurosurgery, showing us how a brain mapping technique is integratedin the OR.
Withthe lighting being so perfect and subject matter being so interesting, it wouldhave been nearly impossible to grab a bad shot of the procedure itself. Whetherit was easy or not, I consider this one of the best pictures I've ever taken.
Media Training Day
Scientists,researchers and physicians can, on occasion, be reluctant to deal with membersof the media because of an understandable fear that their words, research orfindings will be misinterpreted or twisted somewhere between the interview andthe printer. To help bridge this gap, Penn Medicine held a media training day —a nearly day-long series of discussions and question-and-answer sessions thatincluded a panel partially comprised of media members.
Thiswas particularly fun to shoot because the conversation was so interesting. It'sakin to having headphones on, playing your favorite music while you're tryingto take pictures. The morning flew by, and while the lighting in the room wasdifficult it also allowed for a few dynamic images.