How To Get Into Medical Photography

From Forensic Photography to Medical Photography- Pixels are Pixels

We spoke to Illingworth Research Group’s head of medical photography, Kevin Jacob who reveals his journey from forensic to medical photography. This drastic career change enabled Kevin to feel he could make a real difference in developing future clinical treatments through advanced imaging devices.

Kevin kick-started his career as a commercial photographer in Cheshire. This was followed by a drastic career change in the form of forensic photography working for the metropolitan police in London. He swapped his suburban lifestyle for life in the big city and began his role in forensics. He reveals this new pathway certainly took him out of his comfort zone. Photographing postmortems and fatal accident scenes took some getting used to but he enjoyed the challenge.

His first crime scene was a fatal accident on the main dual carriageway into London during rush hour. This involved working with accident investigators to ensure that traffic could be stopped whilst he took photographs from relevant angles. Kevin points out that photographing a crime scene is the same as taking photos in any other setting; “you are only focused on the camera settings and visually telling a story”. Therefore, he was able to cope with photographing sensitive and gory material by refraining from mentally processing the scene at hand.

Kevin’s decision to move into medical photography came about after being placed in a vulnerable and potentially life-threatening situation whilst working in forensics. Following the realisation that he would not wish to raise children in this environment, he moved back to leafy Cheshire where he found a job working for a biotech company called Renovo. Pleased to move into a contrasting industry where he could develop his skills in advanced imaging devices, he was able to strengthen his skill set further by working in medical photography.

He found that medical photography and forensic photography did not have many differences. An image is an image regardless of whether it is of a toenail fungus or a blood-stained knife. However, looking back he believes that he made the right decision to leave the dangerous world of forensic photography in favour of a role where he gained more security. His passion for medical photography became expressed through the unpredictability of the job; no day is the same.

Alongside working at Renovo for 10 years he took his clinical photography qualification approved by the institute of medical illustrators. Kevin has now been at Illingworth for the past 9 years.

“We provide full-service capability from protocol review, equipment selection, training, image QC, analysis and reporting. We are also working with videography and 3D. Our mobile research nursing service means that we can support photography and visits within the home or workplace.”

Kevin’s enthusiasm for the job is further expressed through his keenness to keep exploring the implementation of advanced imaging devices and more recently explore videography in some circumstances.

Click to read the full interview