The Miracle of Photography
As we each create and mold our personalized wellness journeys, it is incumbent on each of us to make time to partake in activities that bring us enrichment and enjoyment.
The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. — James Taylor
The impact of a well-taken photograph can evoke so many memories, emotions, and remembrances. You know, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In our family, photography may even be a genetic trait, spearheaded by my father who elevated otolaryngological photography to an art form.
During childhood, I studied composition, lighting, and depth of field, frequently referencing the Joy of Photography book series to master this amazing world. Many hours were spent in the darkroom manually developing and processing black and white prints. End results required patience, a bit of luck, and delayed gratification to determine if the moment had been successfully captured. I cultivated these skills as a high school and college photography editor, during monthly New Haven Camera Club color slide competitions my father and I attended, and as a Yale softball photographer. I still employ these techniques when capturing medical as well as personal family and bike-riding images.
Technology has transformed the delays of silver world film processing into instantaneous digital image playback. Capturing the moment has never been easier with the development of powerful cameras in the palms of our smartphone hands. I vividly recall toting my 35mm camera and ring light as a resident to photograph the oral cavity and oropharynx. Smartphones now permit patients to send me images of their tonsils with incredible clarity and illumination. Depth of field can be controlled with the simple click of “portrait” mode!
The ultimate joy and value of photography is the opportunity to freeze-frame a slice of our present time to be enjoyed and remembered at a future moment. In medical photography, some useful keys for optimal image acquisition include ensuring sharp focus and maximal image magnification of the center of interest with adequate illumination; using antifog appropriately on endoscopes to eliminate hazy images; always suctioning blood and mucous away before pressing the capture button; gently squeezing the shutter button as opposed to abrupt pushing, which will cause camera movement and blurry images; and immediately retaking any suboptimal images.
As we each create and mold our personalized wellness journeys, it is incumbent on each of us to make time to partake in activities that bring us enrichment and enjoyment. Photography is a crucial element of my wellness equation. My excitement never ceases when I discover photos from earlier years with colleagues, friends, and family, or noteworthy medical cases, and bask in the rekindled memories.