Beauty in biology

LOOKING at some of Angela Chappell’s work, you could be forgiven for thinking her photos were taken by satellites in outer space – exquisite portraits of cloud-enshrouded planets spinning in a distant galaxy. In fact, Ms Chappell is a renowned ophthalmic photographer and you are seeing her photos of human eyes.

Ms Chappell has worked at the Flinders Medical Centre at Flinders University in Adelaide since 1993 and has developed her niche expertise. She is one of about 60 medical photographers attached to most of the main teaching hospitals in every state across Australia.

Much of Ms Chappell’s photography is used by ophthalmologists at the medical centre for diagnostic purposes. Sodium fluorescein is administered to a patient intravenously and within 10–20 seconds it travels to the back of the eye. Ms Chappell can take time lapse pictures of the dye moving through the retinal circulation in a procedure known as retinal angiography.