What does your job entail day to day in a normal week?
My Job is guided by a staff rota that covers areas of Clinical photography (studio, wards, emergency and operating theatres), Ophthalmic imaging, pathology, video and PR photography. We have a great team spirit at the Media Studio, we are lucky to be able to cover so many types of photography and video within our roles.
How do you decide what makes a good photograph?
Depending on the request whether it's clinical or PR related, I would make sure I have the required equipment, the correct exposure set and the best light source to clearly illustrate the image, for example if it's a medical image, a deep cavity in the body during a theatre request would be best photographed using a ring flash, this attaches to the end of the lens for me to obtain shadow-less images. The surgeon is then able to clearly document surgical techniques. As for PR photography, I look at exposure, composition and consider lighting. When people are the subject it's important to communicate well. There are many factors that make a good photograph, being well prepared is one of the most important and making sure you understand the brief before you start.
Did you study photography or something else and how was it useful?
I studied Professional Photography, the course covered a wide range of photography, from studio product stills to documentary photography. I found the course very useful and it helped me with the technical aspect to photography. We would also process and print our own films (colour and BW).
What was your first photography job and how did you get it?
My first photographic job was in sports photography, photographing rowing events and the occasional university group image as well as university degree portraits, unfortunately I was made redundant from that job and that's when I joined the hospital as a photographic technician and helping out with the PR photography. A few years later I was very lucky to be trained to become a Medical Photographer, I studied Clinical Photography as a distance learning course through Staffordshire University.
What's the most interesting photographic task you have had recently?
Recently my colleague and I, whilst covering the hospital's PR photography had the privilege of photographing Wilko Johnson, he had pancreatic cancer and the surgeon successfully operated on him to remove a large tumour, it's very rare that people can survive this. Wilko wanted to say thank you to the surgeon and to the hospital, he decided to put on a gig at the Junction (music venue) for free. All proceeds went to (ACT) the hospital charity. We took photographs of him with his surgeon in the theatre that he was originally operated in, for publicity. Wilko is a great character, this shows in the various expressions he shows in his face, it was a great privilege to be able to capture this in photography.
What advice would you have for someone at school (16-18 ) interested in working in your area of photography?
I would advise anyone interested in Medical Photography to research the area, visit Medical Photography departments. Have a look at the Institute of Medical Illustrators website: www.imi.org.uk, it's full off information for a career path into the field and covers the information in all areas of imaging.