Anatomy in Black and White

A few weeks ago I grabbed my recently purchased Canon AE-1 Program and shot my first roll of film. I did so at my Dad’s work, Edinburgh University. Through chance, the Head of Anatomy at the university had saw my Dad carrying a camera he had picked up for me at a charity shop. My Dad explained that it was for me and the Head of Anatomy suggested that I come up and take some photos. So the following Sunday night my Dad and I were free to roam the majority of the Anatomy buildings by ourselves.

I was unsure whether to shoot film or not since the lighting was going to be challenging for the type of shots I wanted to take and barring basic point and shoots and the odd disposable in my youth, I had never shot film before. Nonetheless I stuffed my AE-1 into my bag along with my Canon 5D Mark II just in case and I'm glad that I did. I ended up shooting both film and digital as, quite frankly, I thought there was a very high chance I'd load the film wrong, or that the pictures would be totally unusable. Thankfully that wasn't the case and the scans I received from the lab turned out way better than I expected. Ilford HP5+ really delivered the look that I had in my head and this post will contain a mix of shots from that night, both film and digital. Hopefully you like them.

All in all it was a successful trip and long overdue since circumstances meant I hadn't been out to take pictures for over a year. I had to get by posting old stuff and the odd photo taken at home. It’s nice to finally have new stuff to share. 

 Canon AE-1 Program taken with my Nexus 6P

Canon AE-1 Program taken with my Nexus 6P

Edinburgh University’s Anatomy Lecture Theatre, which dates from 1884, is a very striking room. Its steep, tightly packed rows of seats gave students a great vantage point of the small teaching area where live dissections of human cadavers once took place. These days it serves as a normal lecture theatre and I'm led to believe that it's rare for the public to gain access to it. Therefore, I did my best with the short time that I had to try capture both its architecture and its mood from a different perspective to that of the handful of photos that already exist online.

 Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

This is the second shot of the Anatomy Lecture Theatre that I felt showcased it differently from how others have. The ceiling of the room, with its curves and beams, is really quite lovely. Even more so with only the back row of lights illuminating it.

 Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

A nice little staircase just outside of the lecture theatre.

  Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Empty corridors.

 Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

I loved the way the light emanated from this little passageway.

  Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400  

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400 

The Anatomy Museum's lobby has a few exhibits of its own, with the most eye-catching being the two imposing elephant skeletons that sit either side of the main doorway.

 Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 50mm 1.4

Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 50mm 1.4

A closer view of the lobby's other elephant skeleton.

  Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400   

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400 

Some of the lobby's other exhibits include busts, statues, death masks, paintings and a whale's jawbone. Quite an impressive collection to view before entering the museum itself. This shot shows some of the aforementioned, including a replica of Rembrandt’s "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp".

  Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40L

There's a whole load of staircases located around the medical school. This is one that my Dad reckoned I'd like to photograph. He was correct and I'm glad it turned out the way I saw it in my head.

 Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

A single lamp over a little stone archway.

  Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Peeking out of a medical school window onto Teviot Place.

  Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

A scaffolding on one of the various medical school buildings.

  Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Archibald Tait was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1868 to 1882. This bust of him is tucked away in a little lane within the grounds of the medical school.

  Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

Canon AE-1 Program, Ilford HP5+ 400

This is the final shot from my night spent wandering the university, and coincidentally, it was also the final exposure on the roll of film. All in all I'm really happy with how the images turned out and although I enjoyed shooting the digital ones, I'll remember the night as being the night I fell in love with film.

Thanks for reading!