New photo exhibition bridges the gap between art and science

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

One of the largest ever wildlife, landscape and natural history exhibitions will be opening at Highfields Park in Nottingham this week.

The Biological Photography & Imaging Photography Exhibition 2019 called - ‘Ponder on Life’ - opens on Friday 27 September 2019. It will feature 75 photographers and over 150 images which will be displayed on Highfields Park.

The exhibition is a collaborative project between the Biological Photography & Imaging Group at the University of Nottingham, Lakeside, the University’s Sustainability Committee and Nottingham City council.

Ponder on Life exhibition

Biological Photography & Imaging has been a stalwart of science communication and creativity at the University for over 50 years, 20 of those at post graduate level. Bridging the gap between art and science, students are empowered in scientific communication through photography, design and film making. 

‘Ponder on Life’ is an exhibition featuring the work of BSc and MSc students and staff from the University’s Biological Photography and Imaging courses taught within the school of Life Sciences.

As part of their course, MSc students undertake a ten week study project allowing them to specialise in a specific area relevant to the course and their personal interest. This exhibition showcases a selection of the students’ portfolio of work and acts as a platform upon which they can demonstrate their photographic creativity and skill.

Ponder on Life exhibition

The course is designed to take existing scientific knowledge and passion and provide a skill set with which to communicate that passion to a wider audience. This skill set equips the student with the ability to communicate through various media, across many knowledge levels and in a fun, creative and informative manner.

The course is also designed for those who want to use their scientific background as a spring board into the creative industries. Previous students have gone on to very diverse roles and employment within the scientific and creative sectors. 

The group was recently identified as ‘sector leading’ by the Royal Biological Society, and enjoys a close knit relationship with the Royal Photographic Society. 

Ponder on Life exhibition

David McMahon, Director of Photography & Imaging Biological Photography at the University of Nottingham, said: “This exhibition has long been a dream of mine. To showcase the photography of the brilliant students that we have at the University of Nottingham and to showcase to the public the wonderful skills and creativity that they have developed over a very short period of time.

“Some students have never picked up a camera before, and yet within a term or academic year produce fantastic images like those on display in the exhibition. It is always so wonderful to see their hard work pay off in the output of such creative material, and it has been a wonderful experience to work alongside so many internal and external partners in bringing this to life, without the support of the University, Estates, Lakeside and the Council it would still be a dream.

Ponder on Life exhibition

‘Ponder on Life’ was funded by the University of Nottingham’s Sustainability Committee's Environmental Initiative Fund.

More details on the launch of the exhibition can be found here


Story credits

More information is available from Steve Galloway, Taught Course Specialist, Biological Photographing & Imaging, at

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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