OUCH: Scary Pictures of Broad Daylight

Waikiki, No. 5, from the Portfolio Waikiki, 1975, by Anthony Hernandez, Smithsonian American Art Mus

Last month, I wrote a post about the fact that when photographs of patients were attached to CT scans, the radiologists who “read” them did a better job because they had a stronger connection to the patient pictured.  More recently, I came across another interesting photography/radiation story on the Science News website.  It describes how researchers at Boston University’s School of Medicine are using photography to convince pre-teens why they should avoid getting sunburned.

In a controlled experiment, some middle school students posed for UV photographs of their faces that show pigment changes due to chronic sun exposure; others didn’t. But all received sun protection lectures. In follow-up studies students who had not been photographed reported higher rates of sunburn and skin damage. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the country, and Marie-France Demierre, professor of dermatology and medicine at Boston University, notes that, a "UV photograph represents an immediate ''picture'' of sun damage that can impact impressionable teens." I wonder what would happen if magazines did something similar and began to publish UV photos of perennially bronzed celebrities?

Cliffside Beach Umbrellas, 1950s, by Louis Davidson, Nantucket Historical Association

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