Photographing NYU School of Medicine Master Scholars in Medical Humanism Program

The Master Scholars in Medical Humanism Program at NYU School of Medicine plans to produce a “look book” to advertise the program to prospective students. They will include my photos from the Dean’s Fun Run and Tuesdays @4, but they needed images from some of the program’s classes. So I went to the school on two consecutive evenings to photograph the classes Medical Spanish, Medical Writing, Medical Mandarin, and Anatomical Drawing. It was all very interesting and fun to shoot.

I had only about half an hour with each class. The students and faculty were gracious to let me interrupt for some posed shots, but I made mostly candid photographs while trying not to interrupt. I lit Medical Spanish with two Speedlites bounced off the ceiling in the back of the classroom, remotely triggered by PocketWizard radio transceivers. Medical Writing was held in a small conference room where one Speedlite bounced off the ceiling was enough. The next evening was the final class of Medical Mandarin, and they were having a party, so we moved to a different room and quickly staged a mock class. This didn’t allow me the luxury of a more complex lighting setup, so I used on-camera flash diffused with a large Rogue FlashBender.

The most interesting class to photograph was the last one, Anatomical Drawing. This took place in the anatomy lab deep in the basement of the medical school. It didn’t smell as bad as I expected. The students drew from actual disembodied organs and full cadavers. I followed the policy of not photographing cadavers out of respect to the people who donated their bodies. Photos like that would not be appropriate for the look book anyway. But it was amazing to see them and to see the students working with them.

The Master Scholars in Medical Humanism Program (MSMHP) is a component of the Office of Student Affairs developed to complement the culture of medical education by encouraging students to explore intellectual and artistic interests not necessarily covered in the core curriculum. Through innovative seminars, colloquia, and events moderated by expert facilitators, students are encouraged to pursue their interests outside of the classroom to better prepare them for their practice and inevitably make a meaningful difference in the individual lives of patients.


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