These photos describe the work of a preparator who is dissecting a sample body in advance of a practical course for students of medicine. The bodies are very valuable and somewhat rare, it is not uncommon for a body to be re-used for up to 2 years. An experienced preparator is highly skilled, demonstrating a high degree of dexterity and attention to detail. It is his, or in this case, her responsibility to prepare and maintain the bodies so that they may be preserved long enough to last for the duration of the course.
The preparator worked alone in a rather large hall. While walls, steel tables and a number of skeletons gave the room a bright, high-key appearance. The room was lit with fluorencent lights providing quite adequate lighting made for easily handholdable exposure. This and my predominantly stationary subject made for a relaxed shoot. The preparator worked slowly and carefully, allowing me plenty of time to focus and freeze motion – no camera shake and very few soft images. Depth of field was quite small so I had to choose focus carefully. Some images don’t work because of this lack of dof – the unfocused head of the body being sometimes much too soft and undefineable. I was very conscious of Homer’s words during our previous tutorial, directing us to be very careful about the framing. I was thankful now that the taxidermist worked in a slow and considered manner. This allowed to pay special attention to the composition. On the whole, I felt comfortable in this situation. I was given plenty of time to shoot. There were no restriction placed on my movement, so I was able to move around freely, photographing from any angle I wished.

Leave a Reply