Laboratory Imaging and Photography: Best Practices for Photomicrography and More

Dec 09, 2016

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by Rich Kiley

While many people may recognize Michael Peres for his work on RIT’s Big Shot, he has earned an even larger reputation for his expertise when it comes to taking pictures of tiny scientific images.

The RIT photography professor and associate chair of the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS) has just co-authored Laboratory Imaging and Photography: Best Practices for Photomicrography and More (Focal Press, 2017), billed as the definitive guide to the production of scientific images. The book features an overview of the theory and practice behind laboratory photography, along with practical approaches to choosing equipment, handling samples and working with microscopic subjects.

“As the Internet has become more prolific with resources, specific texts like this are just not available anymore,” said Peres, former chair of the biomedical photographic communications department at RIT. “Nothing like this exists in the digital world.”

Part of the publisher’s Applications in Scientific Photography series, Peres co-authored the book with James Hayden, Staffan Larsson and fellow SPAS colleague Ted Kinsman—drawing from more than 150 years of combined experience between the four authors in the field of photography.

Throughout the book’s 370 pages, the authors outline methods for properly capturing, processing and archiving images that are essential to scientific research. Also included are chapters on applied close-up photography, artificial light photography and the optics used in today’s laboratory environment, with detailed entries on light, confocal and scanning electron microscopy.

A lab manual for the digital era, the book, Peres noted, is a “technology independent” guide explaining how to record visual data accurately in an industry where a photograph can oftentimes serve to establish a scientific fact. Other key features include more than 200 full-color photographs and illustrations; a condensed history of scientific photography; tips on using Adobe Creative Suite for scientific applications; a “cheat sheet” of best practices; and methods used in computational photography.

For Peres, the book marks his latest foray into writing and photography. He also is the editor-in-chief of The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th Edition. Prior to joining the RIT faculty, he worked as a medical photographer at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital and the Charleston Division of West Virginia University.

“You can call this my opus,” said Peres, whose recently released picture book with Patricia Cost, Michael Photographs a Snowflake (Fossil Press, 2016) takes young readers through the painstaking process of catching, isolating and photographing individual snowflakes using micrography for which he has been featured in Time and on CNN and The Weather Channel. “This was my time.”