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Blood Cell images

Today I got the scans back of the blood slides I created some time last week. I got the idea to do blood cells from the book Zooming In which featured a section of a group of red and white blood cells. Similarly I wanted to do a different take on what Gary Schneider did when he captured a dried blood drop. Where Schneider captured a dried spot and can sort of see how the blood drop is formed and what it is made up of I wanted to get right into the blood itself and see the cells and anything else that was hidden inside.

The scans came out great,  however one thing the University Lab did not do and did not tell was that I would need a cover slip on the slides to A) Protect them in transit as well as inside the scanner and B) Keep any solution needed to achieve higher magnification. Therefore some of the slides did manage to get damaged and

With the blood images I was goign for the more patterned look across the board, showing the repetition, forms of the cells, and the general knowledge of what our blood actually contains. Furthermore since blood type varies from person to person, the positions and the amount ratio of white blood cells to red blood cells is unique to the carrier, this images becomes a personal representation of the persons whose blood it is. Similar to that of Gilbert and George as well as Mark Quinn in which the art work becomes the sitter, it becomes a living piece of work, and to that, a personal piece of work that no one else can recreate in the same way.

However to get the images this close I had to zoom right in using the software, this is as far as it will go. On the screen it says it is beyond times 20 but not sure how far it has gone. Due to this, the output sizes of the images captured are limited to 772 pixels on the longest side giving really small print sizes as a final outcome. Therefore as much as it disappoints me I can not really use this as a final image to put up on the wall since blowing the image would severely distort the image and would make it non viewable.

What to find in blood slides

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Eye images

To get images of the back of my eyes I decided to go tot the local Specsavers in town and ask if it was possible. The store Manager told me that it would be possible, however the guy to do it was out on training and so I would have to phone back when I was ready to drop in to get it done. When I rang the next day it turned out the guy was in, but the machine was broken and unable to take images, so he said he would phone me back when the engineer had fixed the machine. A week or two passed without hearing anything. I decided to phone back and kept getting a receptionist telling me that the guy was either not working, gone home or was on training but will be in the next day. Eventually I got hold of the right person and he informed me that he had left a message for them to tell me that the machine was ready.

I decided to photograph the back of the eye after again seeing the work of Gary Schneider and listening to his interview of him mentioning photographing the retinas I decided to have a go. Also being a Photographer, the eye is an important piece of equipment to have naturally so therefore seemed fitting to try and photograph my own eye to A) see what it looks like and B) to make sure it is okay for me to keep shooting before my sight goes. Again each eye image is unique, some may have damaged areas if the eye that will show up differently on the images and would directly resemble and represent them.

I decided to stick the two eye images next to each other as this is how they would normally be seen, obviously as a pair. The black background was to make the eye pieces stand out with the deep reds and just a default background for me to use. I feel that with a white background the images might merge in with the background. Also with the metallic paper the black will reflect the viewer and some what simulate the eye exam where they look real close with a light and you see all the veins appear in front of you, brining association and a level of feeling apart of the piece into the audience.

To take the images I had to put my head in a support frame and then was told to look at a light in various directions. The camera itself is a normal Canon 5D Mark II strapped to the back of this fancy Nidek Machine.

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Paper Testing

My original idea was to use Kodak Metallic paper to simulate the 3D appeal of cells and tissues as well enchance the shapes forms within.

However discussing with Paul Smith about the paper types and final printing he sugguested some of the colour might be lost. Considering at least the skin cell images hold a lot of colour because of the staining, this lose of colour could be an issue and could take away the vibrance to my images.

Therefore I decided to do 10×8 inch test prints from The Print Space. One image would be of the cells and contain lots of colour, white and an area of which looks 3D and jumping out of the picture already. The second Image will be of a black an white x-ray.

The aim is to see the final colour output as well as over all quality across the board of colour and monochrome images.

To do the test prints I downloaded the Colour Profiles from their website and converted the images to the Kodak Metallic Profile within photoshop. A video explaining how to use the colour profiles from The Print Space can be found below.

Overall Cost: £12.30 x 2 = £24.60 (Actually came to around £20 after taking away one delivery charge)

Skin Cell/Tissue cost

X-Ray Cost

Below are the images in their Metallic Profile. The test prints are yet to come.


After ordering the test prints on Friday (i forgot to bring an image to check on the screen Wednesday) I got my prints today, Tuesday 24th April. The prints themselves have a slightly glossy shine to them and a silvery look to them in a certain light and angle, which is more noticeable in the white spaces. The colours are still very bright and vivid, but just look a darker shade to me, although again this depends on what angle of light you are looking at the images from. However one downside to this paper is that it seems quite reflective especially in the darker areas. Hopefully to overcome this the darker images could be place higher up to not reflect the person viewing the image.

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Blood cell procedure

To go through the procedure of seeing the blood cells within me, I went to the Microbilogy department at Coventry University.

According to the booklet I was given the procedure of seeing the blood cells is a basic first year one. The whole process should only take a bout half an hour to get the specimens ready. To save time a technician made the stain (Giemsa) as she knew the solutions and measurements need to make the final product.

Equipment needed was a few slides, throughout science experiments you always make a few specimens incase of mistakes, spreading slide, a pencil to label the slides, anti-sceptic wipes, sot click lance, a peppetite, and lastely my Blood! I have kept a third slide separate to see if it can be scanned at the research area of the University Hospital. Since the technician said he might be able to stain it, I kept this slide unstained incase it was a different staining solution than the one used in the Microbiology Labs at the University.

Below is the soft click lance and an ant-sceptic wipe for afterwards to clean the pin hole wound.

The final result should be a thin layer of blood cells across the slide. The the layer is too think then the cells will over lap.

The next stage is to cover the slides in methanol and then Giemsa (Stainer). this stain will then bring up the cells up and have more contrast to the images.

The Slides are then ready to go under the microscope once the Stain has been washed off and the slides are dry.


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Resolution Testing

As mentioned in the Software Change post I was having trouble seeing if the resolution would be high enough to produce good quality prints. Therefore I decided to set up some final images to see if I could get the right resolution of 300 needed, and to see if the images basically looked good enough to put up as final images.

Therefore I headed over to the Univeristy print Beuro to have some test prints produced. These images were sized at the longest length of A3 and were matched to the resolution to 300. One image came in under the 300 at 276 DPI, therefore I still pushed it to 300 and at the A3 size to see if the minor gap made much difference. The majority of images came in over the 300 limit. Consequently these images will be exported through Lightroom to the resolution of 300 at the right sizes.

First of I managed to only have the short side of A3 measurements in my head, 297mm so i set the images to this size rather than the longest. This was too short and so I changed the sizes to the longest side of 420mm and reprinted one of the images.

The below image was one of the images that came in over the 300 DPI and resized to 420mm on the longest side.

Overall I was still surprised at how the images turned out and how much detail they could hold. Therefore I think it would be fine to print the images at the A3 size to show all of the detail.

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Software Method and Changes

To view the skin slide scans given to me from the University Hospital, I had to download some FREE software called Pannoramic Viewer, available from 3Dhistech.

This software has a feature to capture the part of the specimen I am viewing, be it magnified in or magnified out. To capture the section I desired all I had to was click the camera icon in the tool bar at the top and then click save.

Pannoramic Viewer

Image Capture – 3DHistech

However the problem with this software and method was that the output size of Image Capture was not high enough for my needs and only produced images at 1410 x 744 pixels, or about 4 inches across. This was totally not useful for my needs as I plan to print A3 or bigger. Therefore if I was to print the images any bigger the image quality would decrease dramatically.

Image Capture Dimensions

Since I was advised to use this software by a technician at The University Hospital, I emailed him to see if there was an alternative method within the software or a section to edit the output sizes. Unfortunately he did not know a way to change the output sizes but suggested I used a second piece of FREE software that might work. This software is called ‘Image Scope‘ made by Aperio.

Aperio – ImageScope

To start with this software still produced images at the same output size as the first piece of software by using the same technique. However a bit of Googling and searching through the software I came across a tool that can extract certain areas of the specimen I am viewing on the screen. This meant I could scroll to zoom in and out of the specimen and see more detail and then drag the cursor over the area in which I wanted to capture. The output sizes are a lot bigger than the first method. The only downsize is using the dragging over the area method means my image sizes are going to be an odd shape and not to the same ratio format as other images. Also the output size also seems to be at 72 dpi which is not suitable for printing.

Aperio – Extraction

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Skin cell and Tissue images.

One of my aims within this project is to Photograph the skin and get deeper to the tissue and cells. This was because of personal interest and to further the work of Gary Schneider who managed to gather lip cells and other cells from around the body.

After the meeting with Sean James, the senior technician for the labs, we headed over to the Pathology Department to see Shelly. This is where the cell and tissue bank area is contained. Within this lab slides of tissues and cells are scanned in using the machine shown below.

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The results produced were not quite what I was after. I was thinking of going in deeper to see more of the cells in the skin. However I am going to take what I can get and be happy with this. It is still closer than normal, and can still make out the cells and tissue areas. In one aim these images are similarly related to the work of Karl Blossfeld with the presentation of the item as an art form showing the natural forms produced within and also the scientific nature of the item, just mine is going on the wall rather than in to science books and journals.

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