FMP - Shoot 1 - Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton

This is the first of three shoots I have planned for the FMP at three different scientific centres. After approaching Professor Neil Harrison who heads up a post exertional-malaise trial at the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre in Brighton, we agreed a date quite quickly for the shoot. 

Background: The Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre is a purpose-built facility that houses imaging technology, a reception and visitor waiting area, a preparation suite and PACS and CRIS-enabled reporting rooms – all under one roof. It was coming up to the end of the first half of the trial where M.E participants take part, switching to healthy volunteers in the second half. I was keen to shoot an actual M.E participant (Jane) and so headed to Brighton at quite short notice. 

Objective: Since it is a misunderstanding that M.E/CFS is a psychological condition and that graded exercise can help cure patients with M.E.I’m hoping to deliver a set of images that help us understand that M.E/CFS is a neurological condition with inflammatory properties that cause post-exertional malaise as well as cognitive difficulties, in M.E.

Here are a selection of images and contact sheets from the days shoot. 

The Day: I spent the day with the lead Clinical Neurologist, who had already explained to me what the short and long-term focus was concerning this trial. We also spent some time discussing ’interoception’, the 8th Sense, and how it doesn’t function efficiently in M.E/CFS patients. ’interoception’, is simply a behavioural response to emotions in the brain, much like we have a behavioural response externally when we see, smell, taste, hear different things. 

The trial started with the participant working with the Neurologist, also assigned to the trial from St. Georges Hospital London. After the questionnaire there was an explanation of the day and in particular what would happen for the hour within the MRI scanner.  Jane was asked to lie down for resting heart rate and then stand up when resting heart rate was taken again. She was then taken to the MRI Unit and prepared for her MRI. Jane was suffering from a nasty cough on the day, which meant keeping still in the scanner was really difficult for her. The process was stopped on a regular basis to allow her to cough. Sadly this affected the overall results slightly.

Following and hour 20minutes in the scanner she was led to an exercise machine where she exercised for set periods of time, whilst various gases were measured. The following day Jane returned for a further follow up scan. During the process, I attempted to photograph without getting in the way. I would have liked more time to arrange the day a little but in the end ended up with a decent enough set of images. I wasn’t able to access the MRI scanner room but took photos through a control centre window and through the doorway when the scanner was not turned on. 

The room where the exercise bike was situated was also not the normal room and was very cramped and difficult to take images, without one person crossing in front of the others. I was delighted with the neurological scans though and shot these directly from the computer within the control centre. As Jane was reacting to a series of question within the scanner it was fascinating to see neurological  changes happening in real time. I recorded this brain activity  both in digital and one short video clip. ( I am still editing this so will add here later.)

Summary: There are some upsides of doing these shoots at short notice, and it adds to the work when you are less prepared. I had no time to get ‘Consent Forms’ out early and it took some time after the shoot for the authorisations to happen, and before I could start working on the photographs taken. I did, however, get a model release agreement signed from the participant whilst I was there. I would have liked more time to work with the staff there too, the day was exhausting for all of them, unable to leave the scanner for lunch and the neurologist worked through the day without stopping. 

It was interesting to find that I spent less time on these edits and so this shoot has been less involved in my overall production of FMP images, but individual images have been successful in their own right as mentioned in the final edits section below.

Final Edits. There were no images to complete as part of a collaboration for the CISC, but I did work on some of these images as abstractions towards my Mapping Project. Later some video was utilised for an artist talk. Some of which will be selected for my final FMP images. Three of the images, (Introception; Three ways, The 8th Sense and Tiled.) were later accepted for an international art expo in Rome, July19-21 at the Palazzo Velli. The exhibition isn’t being advertised yet, but you can see the exhibition site here. Also Cognition I was accepted for a digital exhibition in Lenscratch Magazine run by Aline Smithson, CEO and Founder in the US. You can find a link to the exhibition here.

CISC. 2019. Clinical Imaging and Sciences Centre, Brighton. Website. [online] Available at 

QUADT L, CRITCHLEY HD, GARFINKEL SN. 2018.  The neurobiology of interoception in health and disease.  Ann NY Academy of Science. Sep,1428(1):112-128. [online] available at [accessed 20th Feb. 2019.]

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