How Photographers Help Scientists See Differently
An interesting collection of articles on collaboration between photographers and scientists. I mostly paid attention to the third link about creating compelling science pictures.
One of the hardest parts of my job, as a science communicator telling molecular plant science stories, is finding compelling images. A colleague of mine at Michigan State University aptly remarks, "Plants aren't 'cute' like koala bears." And at some point, a plant cell just looks like 100 other plant cells to a non-specialist reader.
It takes time to find different types of visual representations, whether exact or metaphorical, of the research.
To illustrate: Since I don't have the time to create original visuals, I rely on getting images from our labs at Michigan State or from public domain and creative commons online sources. And even though I don't create new material, it can take me up to 2-3 hours to search for and process a single cover image for a story.
But the result is worth it, because the right image will convey some emotion - excitement, wonder, fear, understanding, etc. - that adds to the reader's experience. And readers, including expert scientists and journal editors, will notice the difference, judging by the feedback I have received.