Scientists play an integral part in culture but the public knows very little about how science is done, who actually does it or exactly why it’s important. There is a burgeoning interest in neuroscience in popular culture. Yet, mass media distills the scientiﬁc process to the end result. For example, ﬁndings from a publication in a scientiﬁc journal instead of the process by which it is conducted. Little to no attention is given to neuroscience researchers, who could bring life to the scientiﬁc process and merit cultural representation. Why is value given to medical doctors, lawyers, police officers, and fire fighters as depicted on screen? What does the lack of scientific representation in visual media say about our culture? In this series, I aim to engage non-scientists by revealing what neuroscientist look like and by sharing their stories. My goal is to bring science into the larger cultural lexicon, and show the value of science in deﬁning our shared reality.
I find my photographic process to be similar to how I conducted neuroscience research. Raw data is abstracted from the environment, edited, and sequenced to create a coherent narrative about an aspect of nature. With this in mind I created diptychs where the positive instant images represents the beginning of data gathering, the inverted high resolution negative depicts the finished data set, while the ordering of the images complete a story.
The portraits shown here were captured with a large format camera and hand made New55 PN black and white instant ﬁlm. Although the concept of this series could have been carried out with a digital camera I chose analog film due to its physical and genuine textures. In observing the messiness of the positive instant film I want the audience to recognize that the scientists in these images are authentic, while at the same time revealing salient features of this person through the use of the edited negative.