A still-frame century

Faculty welcomes the 100 Years of Medicine Photo Exhibit

Amy Hewko - 10 May 2013

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is proud to present the 100 Years of Medicine Photo Exhibit, on display in the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library. The exhibit is free to the public and will be on display from May 1 to 31, 2013.

"People inherently understand images. There's no language barrier," Greg Sawisky, first-year medical student said of the exhibit. "We all look at an image and if there's a peak emotion or idea, regardless of the colour of our skin, our first, second or third language, or of our cultural identity, we can connect with what's going on. It's a very powerful way to share ideas."

The end result of the exhibit is the Faculty depicted from all angles: as dedicated professionals, as students eager for knowledge and as an institution with a rich history that is still unfolding.

Faculty member and alumna Katharine Fagan-Garcia submitted Frosted, a self-portrait she took while working with CANHelp in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT. The close-up photo showcases the frost that formed on her eyelashes, eyebrows and skin after a 20 minute walk in -40 C to the research site.

"It shows how the students and research assistants, like myself, and other people who are involved in research are out there in different settings, performing the research and trying to get answers to health questions," Fagan-Garcia said of her submission choice. "Since [Edmonton is] further north than many other places, representing research in the north is an important part of the Faculty."

"Donning the Gloves" by Greg SawiskySawisky focused on the art of medicine for his submissions. He chose photos like Donning the Gloves, an extreme close-up of a medical student putting on gloves (inset), and N95 Fit Testing, which features several juxtaposed students. He also submitted A Day in the Life: Sarah Forgie. Twelve images were combined to make the collage of the associate professor of infectious disease.

"I think [it] makes a powerful statement about medicine today, it's not just being in clinic. Physicians are people and they have this whole life around them," Sawisky said of the piece. "It includes hockey practice and sitting around the dinner table and goofy moments with their children. That was the attempt. To really put a face on it and humanize that interaction."

Pieces of the Faculty's history are also documented in the exhibit, thanks in part to the submissions of Surgical Medical Research Institute's (SMRI) staff member Greg Olson. He took the opportunity to share some pictures from the SMRI early years.

The first photo shows Premier Ernest Manning's visit to the institute in 1964, shortly after it initially opened its doors in 1960. The second is a staff photo taken in 1969 by Dr. Konstanty Kowalewski, the institute's first director.

Despite the grainy black-and-white colouring, the image is more relevant than one would expect. "One person in [the staff picture] retired in 1999. He was there for 43 years. He was the last one in that picture to retire," Olson stated while explaining the history behind the images. "In something like that, you can see the history."

The exhibit will also be included in the What's Up, Doc? field trip opportunity for elementary students. Select classes will come to the University of Alberta, tour the exhibit and participate in activities that align with the education curriculum for grades three through six.

After the exhibit closes at the end of May, plans include additional gallery dates at Enterprise Square in downtown Edmonton and the U of A Calgary Centre in downtown Calgary before returning to the U of A in September for Alumni Weekend. It's anticipated that the exhibit will be on display for a few weeks at a time in each location.