When Dr. Yehonatan N. Turner began his residency in radiology, he was frustrated that the CT scans he analyzed revealed nothing about the patients behind them — only their internal organs. So to make things personal, he imagined each patient was his father.
But then he had a better idea: attach a photograph of the actual patient to each file.
“I was looking for a way to make each case feel unique and less abstract,” said Dr. Turner, 36, now a third-year resident at Shaare Zedek Medical Center here. “I thought having a photo of the patient would help me relate in a deeper way.”
Dr. Turner’s hunch turned into an unusual medical study. Its preliminary findings, presented in Chicago last December at a conference of the Radiological Society of North America, suggested that when a digital photograph was attached to a patient’s file, radiologists provided longer, more meticulous reports. And they said they felt more connected to the patients, whom they seldom meet face to face.
Two schools I have taught at in the past couple of years ban camera use at their high school musical night. One of the reasons is because students look out to the audience to see if mum and dad are watching. If they see only a sea of lenses instead of adoring eyes they are met with technology rather than soul.
We are obsessed with recording life from our point of view, even when it is only 30 cm from the next person’s POV.
The Mona Lisa is photographed by every visitor to the Lourve when we have ready access to pristine images of her taken in optimum lighting etc.
We humans are strange creatures.
It’s not often that aesthetics are considered in the study of science, but [University of Chicago grad student Elizabeth] Kessler maintains it is necessary if one is to fully understand the space telescope and its impact.
“There’s a lot of translation that occurs between the data the Hubble collects and the final images that are shared with the public,” Kessler explains. Translating raw data into the “pretty pictures” that have become a staple of newspaper front pages requires careful image processing.
Astronomers and image specialists strive for realistic representations of the cosmos, yet they make subjective choices regarding contrast, composition and color. The Hubble images are complex representations of the cosmos that balance both art and science. In that sense, as well as in their appearance and emotional impact, Kessler says they resemble 19th century Romantic landscape paintings, especially those of the American West.
“The aesthetic choices made result in a sense of majesty and wonder about nature and how spectacular it can be, just as the paintings of the American West did,” Kessler said. “The Hubble images are part of the Romantic landscape tradition. They fit that popular, familiar model of what the natural world should look like.”