About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Looking for the Silver Lining

Looking for the Silver Lining

knee1

One of the main reasons that I moved from design and motion graphics as my primary business to photography, was that I hated being stuck behind a desk all day. In a high stress environment, it’s not healthy after a while. With photography, especially my current favourite genres of street and travel photography, I get lots of exercise and fresh air from walking around while simultaneously getting to enjoy an art form that I love.

Walking is such a big part of street photography. Walking while observing and being constantly on the look out for the right moment or the right opportunity is part of the allure of street photography. Working as a designer, I spent most of my, often long days at a desk, and my lifestyle became quite unhealthy. Since then I’ve been getting out as often as I can, and now when I can’t for one reason or another, I find it very frustrating. So you can imagine my consternation when recently I began to experience pretty severe pain in one of my knees. At first I did the typically Irish thing of thinking it will just get better on its own, and disregarded it as just an issue with bad footwear. However, as it got worse I finally went to seek treatment.

The initial visit to my doctor suggested that it may well be a footwear related posture issue. A couple of weeks passed however, and it still wasn’t improving, so I went to a local clinic where they do more comprehensive tests. The doctor there ran some x-rays and found that while there was no joint issue, she suspected that it may be a ligament tear. It was decided to see if it got better and if not to go for an MRI. It didn’t so last week I went for the test, and it is indeed a ligament tear, just a different one from the one my doctor suspected.

The result of all this is my ability to walk for any significant distances has been seriously impaired. While it is getting better, it can take several months. The worst about it is, I have no idea how it happened. I didn’t have any injuries that I remember so who knows? It could of course be much worse. I could have to have surgery (although that’s still a possibility) and at least I can still walk, but it dampens my street photography ambitions for a while.

Despite the frustration, I’ve decided to try and see the silver lining. One upside is that it’s given me a chance to get my photo library in order. I also got to get some cool images from the MRI scan.

I actually have a big interest in medical imaging. Whenever I get any tests done I always try and get copies of it. In the past I’ve often used my own X-Rays and scans in my design work. I once used an x-ray of a family member’s arm in a title sequence for a television documentary on surgery. Last year I worked on a TV programme about heart health (which scared the bejeasus out of me) and I had to do a CG sequence inside a persons arteries showing how a heart attack happens.

knee2
knee2

The modern imaging technologies are really amazing when you consider what they’re doing. I’ve had a CT scan before, but never an MRI. The technician told me before hand to be prepared as it’s pretty loud. As he gave me some headphones to wear, I thought to myself, he’s probably exaggerating. He really wasn’t ! It’s an exceptionally noisy device. The other thing with an MRI is that you have to hold perfectly still. I was getting my knee scanned, which apparently is one of the easier scans to do for the patient, but it still took 15 mins, and it’s surprisingly hard to hold still for that long. Of course the more you think about it the more you feel the need to twitch or to want to scratch something.

When you get one of these complex scans done, such as an MRI or a CT scan, you can usually get a DVD-ROM with the data on it. Most of these include self running viewing applications too. It requires Windows (which I only have via Vmware) , but you just put in the DVD and up pops a piece of software which shows you the results of your scan. With an MRI you can scroll through the various slices. It’s like being able to move through your own body. It’s pretty cool.

The upshot of all this is that while I haven’t been able to do as much street photography as I would like to recently, I did get some cool images of the inside of my knee!

So you see, there’s always a silver lining!

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