Cover image for Envisioning science : the design and craft of the science image
Envisioning science : the design and craft of the science image
Frankel, Felice.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Pess, [2002]

Physical Description:
328 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR692 .F73 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Science and engineering research must be communicated within the research community and to the general public, and a crucial element of that communication is visual. In this volume, science photographer Felice Frankel provides a guide to creating dynamic and compelling photographs for journal submissions and scientific presentations to funding agencies, investors, and the general public. The book is organized from the large to small-from photographing laboratory equipment to capturing new material and biological structures at the microscopic level. Full-color illustrations including many side-by-side comparisons provide an extensive gallery of fine science photography.

Author Notes

Felice Frankel is a photographer who aimed her camera at landscapes for 20 years. This resulted in the award-winning book, Modern Landscape Architecture: Redefining the Garden. In On the Surface of Things, co-authored with chemistry professor George Whitesides, she changes her focus, photographing such colorful scientific phenomena as DNA strands and chemical reactions.

In 1991 she received a Loeb Art fellowship at Harvard, where she explored a relationship between science and art. Joining MIT in 1993 as an artist-in-residence and Guggenheim fellow, she teaches researchers and students how to add a visual element to their research. She is also writing a book on the same subject, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is in many ways a workshop manual, indeed, a lovely one. Most of the photographs would work well in a coffee-table book, though the explanations might be too detailed for the casual reader. The presentation is directed to scientists using material to be presented visually; however, the demands often assume availability of an enormous array of apparatus to try or to use. Of course, presentation is important, but it still is secondary to the material to be presented. At times, Frankel (research scientist, MIT) assumes very little background--various types of microscopy are described when their use is so very standard. At other times, background explanation seems thin--in the discussion of computerized manipulation of images, for example. The section on digital alteration suggests that great care should be taken not to change the original data; then, extensive modifications are shown. There is no question that an attractive image enhances a scientific paper or visual presentation, and the many suggestions given here are quite useful. Some readers will wish for more while others will feel overwhelmed--would that everyone had the resources of MIT to call on, and that all journals routinely published in color. Faculty and researchers. F. W. Yow emeritus, Kenyon College

Table of Contents

Stuart McKeePhylis MorrisonMatthew Footer
1 Envisioning Sciencep. 1
2 How to Use This Bookp. 6
From the Designer's Perspectivep. 9
3 Images in Science: A Gallery of the Pastp. 12
4 Basics of Picture Makingp. 24
Introductionp. 26
Understanding the Flatlandp. 27
Preparing Your Samplep. 28
Point of Viewp. 30
Organizing the Image: Composition and Framingp. 38
Lightingp. 56
Exposurep. 58
Depth of Fieldp. 66
Equipmentp. 72
Digital and Filmp. 77
5 Photographing Small Thingsp. 78
Introductionp. 80
Equipmentp. 81
Sample Preparationp. 82
Background; Making a Selectionp. 87
Camera/Sample Anglesp. 94
Lightingp. 100
Composition and Framingp. 126
Depth of Fieldp. 128
Scalep. 130
Special Casesp. 134
6 Photographing through a Stereomicroscopep. 144
Introductionp. 146
Equipmentp. 147
Captured Image/Observed Imagep. 148
Losing Controlp. 150
Sample Preparationp. 151
Backgroundp. 157
Camera/Sample Anglep. 158
Lightingp. 159
Composition, Framing, and Magnificationp. 180
Special Casesp. 189
7 Photographing through a Compound Microscopep. 192
Introductionp. 194
Equipmentp. 196
Captured Image/Observed Imagep. 197
Losing More Controlp. 199
Backgroundp. 202
Sample Preparationp. 204
Lightingp. 207
Composition, Framing, and Magnificationp. 220
Special Casesp. 230
Special Section: Biological Fluorescence Photographyp. 232
8 Presenting Your Picturesp. 246
Introductionp. 248
Archivingp. 250
Scanningp. 252
Communicating with the Publicp. 254
Speaking to Your Colleaguesp. 258
Digitally Altering Imagesp. 268
Exercisesp. 288
Visual Indexp. 292
Suggested Readingsp. 322
Indexp. 324