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BCA News: Winter 2019


Long-time BCA members Norm Barker, Howard Radzyner & Jamie Hayden enjoying the evening's festivities. Courtesy of the Wistar Institute.

Nikon Small World Exhibit

Norm Barker, FBCA & James Hayden, FBCA

It was a chilly winter evening in Philadelphia at the world class Wistar Institute for the opening of the 44th Annual Nikon Small World traveling exhibit. 150 people showed up for the opening to see the amazing visual art from the microscope and experience an entertaining science and educational event. Great food and drink was served to warm one’s heart on a cold January evening. James Hayden, RBP, FBCA has served as the host of this major exhibit highlighting the fantastically beautiful world captured with a microscope for the last 15 years. Jamie serves as Managing Director of Wistar's Imaging Facility, and is a Nikon Small World regular, with multiple top-ten placements and several Image of Distinction and Honorable Mention awards since 1991, having also served as a judge for the 2001 competition.


150 people came out on a cold Friday winters evening to enjoy the opening and the wonders of the Nikon Small World Exhibit.

The Wistar Institute is the nation’s first independent institution devoted to medical research and training. It has evolved from its beginnings as an anatomical teaching museum to its present-day status as an international leader in basic biomedical research. In 1972, The Wistar Institute was designated a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center in basic research — a distinction it holds to this day. Wistar discoveries have led to the development of vaccines for rabies, rubella, and rotavirus, the identification of genes associated with breast, lung, and prostate cancer, and the development of monoclonal antibodies and other significant research technologies and tools. Located among several top-tier universities, it provides an excellent venue to host this annual exhibit.


Besides the prints that were on exhibit, visitors were treated to a beautiful multi-panel display inside the atrium of the Fox Tower at The Wistar Institute.

Nikon Small World spans 44 years as the leading, global competition for photomicrography. This year’s images were chosen from more than 2,500 entries from 89 countries. Over the years, Nikon Small World has led to the creation of the largest collection of photomicrographs in the world and the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the microscope. We can only hope that Nikon sooner than later will publish a large coffee table book from their collection of extraordinary photomicrographs from over the many years.

During the evening’s program, Eric Flem, communications manager at Nikon Instruments and the curator of Nikon Small World, presented a fascinating overview of how the competition has grown constantly since its inception in 1975, becoming the longest running photographic contest in the world and building a visual timeline of the current technological trends in microscopy and science. He pointed out how the digital era brought about gigantic leaps forward in what could be achieved through microscopy, and the contest saw a shift in content from industrial to biologic subjects and became more artist-oriented. Winning photographers this year are both scientists and artists possessing the consummate skill, scientific discipline and creativity for which the Nikon Small World competition is known.


Alan Taylor, Senior Photo Editor for the Atlantic Magazine gave an interesting talk from the standpoint of how the judges see the images. “Not only do the photomicrographs have to be beautiful images, it’s important that the images tell an interesting scientific story”. Courtesy of the Wistar Institute.

Next was Alan Taylor, Senior Photo Editor for the Atlantic Magazine and one of the previous judges for the Nikon Small World Competition. He gave some insights behind the scenes, and how the judges view and choose the final images from thousands of entries. As a photo editor in his day job, Taylor explained that it was not uncommon for him to edit through more than 25,000 images. But the important part of what he said was “that a good scientific image is a good scientific story”. How true!

Norm Barker talked about how he captured his 7th place winning entry of a single Human Tear Drop. He also emphasized the importance of the scientific image, not just for scientists and academia, but for a way to get the general public and a new generation interested in, and excited about, science.

Next up, Michael Much talked about his Image of Distinction winning image of a Male Gypsy moth’s antenna. He also spoke about photomacrograhy.net and the online community dedicated to the practices, of close-up, macro-photography and photomicrography. With the changes in digital photography more and more people are involved with imaging thru the microscope.

Rounding out the evening, Jamie showed his Image of Distinction, Dandelion pappus (fluff) fibers, thanked all for attending, and welcomed everyone back with a friend to spread the experience to others.

To learn more about Nikon Small World, and see all of the winning images, visit www.nikonsmallworld.com The exhibit is on display at The Wistar Institute until April 5, is free and open to the public weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm.

Local CBS affiliate, Channel 3 News in Philadelphia, ran a feature piece on Wistar and the Nikon Small World exhibit on Tuesday, January 22, during the 6 o’clock news.
https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2019/01/22/new-free-exhibit-at-wistar-institute-uses-photos-to-take-you-inside-a-microscope/


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