Medical Photography Textbooks

April 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

There are not many published textbooks on the subject of medical photography, and no comprehensive books have been published after the digital revolution. That doesn’t mean the books that do exist are all outdated. Here are four textbooks we keep at our department and from time to time consult on different matters. Although dated, the books all offer relevant information on positioning of patients, best lighting practices for various conditions and ethical considerations.

Biomedical Photography

Edited by John Paul Vetter (Focal Press 1992)

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

From the cover:

Biomedical Photography is the most comprehensive and authorative photographic reference book written for professionals in the healthcare industry. Covering both human and veterinary medicine, this book is designed to assist the biomedical and healthcare worker in producing images for research, teaching and documentation. Discussion includes the latest photographic techniques, equipment and processes, as well as emerging technologies, such as raster/vector computer graphics and video imaging. Illustrated extensively with more than 500 color and black-and-white visuals, the text emphasizes practical applications, theory and references.

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

Considered the definitive work on medical photography, this is a very comprehensive book with chapters on everything from optics for biomedical photography and gross specimen photography to portraiture, ultraviolet photography, basic videography and department management. An updated version for the digital age would be more than welcome. Not as detailed on patient photography as some of the other books, but focuses more on principles than specific suggestions on lighting setups.

New and used copies of Biomedical Photography are available through Amazon.

A Guide to Medical Photography

Edited by Peter Hansell (MTP Press Limited 1979)

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

From the introduction:

The photography of patients is fundamental to the whole process and involves not only adept photographic technique, but the sympathetic management of sick and often bewildered people, which brings in its wake a host of ethical considerations. The two most important aspects open and close the book, and within this framework it has not been the intention to cover the subject comprehensively, but rather to concentrate on those aspects which tend to comprise the daily routine, with more than a passing glance at requirements in some of the specialized fields such as endoscopy and ophthalmology.

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

A Guide… also covers a lot of subjects, but leaves out the principles of photography and delves straight into the practical photography of patients, specimen, surgery and instruments. Illustrated throughout with beautifully reproduced color photographs.  Includes an especially interesting and ever relevant chapter on ethical considerations.

Used copies of A Guide to Medical Photography are available through Amazon.

Clinical Photography – A Kodak Data Book

Kodak Publications N0. N-3 (Eastman Kodak 1972)

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

From the cover:

This book presents a cross-section of the kinds of photography carried out in various clinical surroundings. It will be helpful in orienting those contemplating medical photography as a career; specifically, the clinical phase of the service, which deals almost exclusively with the photography of patients. (…) The technical emphasis in this book is on lighting and positioning (posing) the patients.

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

This book focuses solely on the photography of patients in the studio and on location. In addition to in-depth discussions on lighting, patient positioning and equipment, it describes a “simple system” to make it easier to obtain consistently good clinical photographs for doctors that don’t have access to a medical photographer. The book has an especially interesting chapter on photographic surroundings, ranging from the different visual impacts of background tones in the studio, to finding suitable backgrounds on location.

Used copies of Clinical Photography are available through Amazon.

Photography in Medicine

By Arthur Smialowski and Donald J. Currie (Charles C. Thomas Publisher 1960)

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

From the dust jacket:

Designed to present by description, drawings and examples the many techniques in photography as applied to all branches of medical practice and investigation. Full-page illustrations face large line drawings which explain the technique used. Short clinical summaries and photographic techniques accompany clinical photographs. Emphasis is on color photography. Clear, concise, easily understood – an indispensable addition to the library of the physician, dentist, veterinary surgeon, research scientist and professional photographer. Of special value to the part-time medical photographer and the physician-photographer.

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved. Click for larger version.

The oldest of these four books are also one of the most detailed, with chapters on photography in almost every speciality of medicine, from orthopedics to dental photography and photography of the breast. All illustrated with photo examples and lighting diagrams. More of historical value are the chapters on physical organization of a photo department and the preparation of transparencies. Even though it was published over 50 years ago, most of this book is still highly relevant.

Used copies of Photography in Medicine are available through Amazon.

For further reading, the Institute of Medical Illustrators (UK) have compiled a good book list (updated 2008).

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