778: Hidden Beauty by Barker and Iacobuzio-Donahue

by Gerard


778: Barker, Norman and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, eds. Hidden Beauty: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2013. 229 pp. ISBN 978-0-7643-4412-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 770: Photography, computer art, film, and video
  • 778: Specific fields and special kinds of photography
  • 778.9: Photography of specific subjects

The human body is a wondrous thing. This collection of trillions of atoms, combining with billions of bacteria, fungi, and other microscopic life forms, gives each person their space in the universe. Every piece has a function and each piece works with every other piece, giving every person an almost infinite internal universe. But most of the time, we hardly notice. We take it for granted that every organ is working as planned and there when we need it. Norman Barker and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, in Hidden Beauty, reveal what lies beneath the surface to show each person’s unique, medical landscape.

The book journeys through each major functional area of the body from the head to the chest and so on down the body, even giving disease and photos of scientific research their own section. Each picture is a rich, high-definition look into areas we hardly ever see. The computer-generated images are not as good as the actual photography, but they still have a tinge of beauty nonetheless. My two favorite pictures were the complete human cerebrospinal nervous system (laid out to mimic the human form) and a diaphanous close-up of a placenta. While I can’t give you a sample (for fear of violating some sort of copyright law), you can see a gallery of some of the including photographs on the editors’ website. Any photo nut or lover of science should pick this one up.