What seems like only yesterday (2004), Ken Fivizzani wrote an article in C&EN to raise the awareness of chemists about the issue of photography and proper PPE. Here is the article, “Look Over Those Lab Photos.”
Since then, I started watching publications for these types of issues. What has been most effective at my campus is to collect the photos, mostly of Cornell campus situations, and present them back to the groups producing them. Most of these have been one-to-one conversations, but earlier this year I met with our web communications, art & photography, and public affairs departments in a combined meeting to show them the photos and talk about the issues. For us, the issue is a combination of not knowing what is right/wrong and taking the pic based on what would look “cool” as opposed to what is expected in an actual situation. They now understand the issue and globally it is better. I can tell you it made a huge difference to see their own photos rather than just something found on the Internet.
We are also on the lookout for departmental issues. Many departments have their own websites, TVs in public spaces with scrolling images, etc. that they are responsible for populating.
I’ve asked the question on a policy/procedure of this group and others in the past and have never seen a procedure that I could model. I think one of the issues is that there are so many variables. I tried to stop the basics (lab coat, gloves, etc.) and requested they contact us whenever they have any questions. When you take a cool picture of a MRI being lowered through the roof of a building, who knew the people standing on the edge needed fall protection in addition to the hard hats they knew were needed in the pic? So many variables…
This is a great topic and one that definitely has an impact on the overall safety culture of an institution.
Have any of you ever put together "photo safety tips"? Our communication office has taken some publicity type photos and they don't always show the best lab safety practices. I've been asked to put together a guideline for them to use during these photo sessions in labs and non-lab areas on campus.
I know there's always feedback on other photos/video that make this list - mostly about PPE. I thought an easy to follow guide might help the photographer.
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