Royal Society of Biology: Photographer of the Year Award 2016

The Royal Society of Biology’s Photographer of the Year Award 2016 aimed to highlight ‘Biology from big to small’. Check out the shortlist to the side, the winner was Fighting Bulls by Robert Sommer (the one with the big mountain).

What a fucking shock to be shortlisted for this! Found out later that they had over 1,000 entries from all over the world. How my shitty iPhone pic got past the screening process I’ll never know – didn’t even know anyone on the panel.

Called it Moon:Cells mainly because thats a proper academic name, vague but specific – a colon denotes an interaction in scientific writing (at least to some academics it does), e.g. the interaction between two proteins would be written as ABRA::KADABRA. Also thought it would be interesting if anyone picked up on that….no one did.

I happened to be having a bit of a crap day in the lab that day, I think one of my experiments hadn’t worked. So, to distract myself I started taking photos of my cells and sending them to friends on Snapchat – used my iPhone 5S looking through the microscope eye piece. One of the ones I took just happened to look a little bit like the moon, and then about 4 months later the RSB sent a tweet out about the competition, thought ‘the moon is big, cells are small’ fits pretty well so why not. Plus £1,000 top prize was dreamy!

I went to the awards event in London (why always London?!) just to do some networking and get my SciComm ideas out there. Well, for an awards event it was actually alright. I mean there were some amazing canapés! But also, met some pretty cool people.

Lesson learnt – take photos, enter competitions, go to awards – canapés bring people together.


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