Celebrating Scientific Creativity – Photography Competition 2016

Building on the success of last years inaugaral photograph competition, the Faculty of Science decided to have another competition in 2016. The competition was open to all current Durham undergraduate and postgraduate students who were asked to take photographs that exhibited creativity and artistic flare while addressing the theme of ‘Scientific Creativity’.

The theme supports that of the University theme for International Womens’ Day and demonstrates our commitment to the Athena SWAN principles. By promoting the competition through Departments/Schools contributing to the Natural Sciences programme and through Colleges we aimed to make all Durham students stop and think about creativity.

Two of the winners  Rachel Taylor (Second place) and Sophie Johnson (Joint third place) had the below to say about their entries and what winning meant to them.

“My picture (featured) is called Starry eyed and its concept is perfectly captured by a quote by Charles Nicolle: ‘The disclosure of a new fact, the leap forward, the conquest over yesterday’s ignorance, is an act not of reason but of imagination…’. The nebula reflected in the eye represents ideas forming, the limitless possibilities of human imagination behind all scientific progress.

I entered this competition because, being a biomedical science student, it perfectly linked my main interests: photography and science. I enjoyed that this competition reconciled the worlds of art and science as these are two areas that are rarely perceived as compatible.”

 Rachel TaylorBiomedical Sciences, Van Mildert College


Art of Stained Structures



















“As a first year Natural Sciences student interested in both art and science I jumped at the chance to enter the Faculty of Science Photography Competition. The idea of “Scientific Creativity” is something that appealed to me, as I rarely find an opportunity to mix my passions for art and science. The competition was part of the International Women’s Day celebrations within the Science faculty, a great way to get women more involved in science.

Luckily, I have taken photos in almost every practical this year, so I had a range of work to choose from. I decided to go with a photograph I took during our practice sessions during fresher’s week, where we were taught to use microscopes. I had taken pictures down a microscope using my phone before, but it is still always a difficult task!

I had some interesting images from experiments with DNA sequencing and behavioural practicals, however I decided to use the microscopy image as I thought it fit the theme of “Scientific Creativity” the best. The tissue under the microscope is an art form in itself, likened to that of a painting by my friends. I was incredibly fortunate to manage to capture this in a photograph, especially since I was using my phone camera!

I was elated and surprised to have come joint third, especially in a field I am so passionate about. It just goes to show that you don’t need a fancy camera to take interesting photographs!”

Sophie Johnson , Natural Sciences, Josephine Butler College


For more information on this photography competition and to see the other entries please see https://www.durham.ac.uk/science.faculty/athena.swan/photocomp2016/



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