Clinical photography processes (ClinPhoto) study for photo diversity

Benjamin Collins, Pamela Pierce, Linda Felver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although clinical photography serves an important role in the education of clinicians, there is still a disparity of darker skin tones in the photographs used for medical education. This disparity results in a skill deficit for clinicians because the differences in skin pigmentation change the appearance of visible diseases so that it is essential for students and trainees to have examples of clinical photographs on varying skin tones. To effectively address the problem, we need to understand the complex sociotechnical processes involved in clinical photography, which is more than simply the act of taking a photograph. Therefore, we conducted semi-structured interviews on clinical photography with 10 clinicians, 1 medical photographer, and 1 clinical administrator at a tertiary academic medical centre. The interviews revealed 5 deductive themes based on the questions and 19 inductive codes within those themes on how clinical photography is conducted. Analysis of the themes through a lens of critical theory showed how simple awareness of the disparity has not led to interventions for the poor representation of varying skin tones in photographs for medical education and also suggests initial next steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Visual Communication in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Medical education
  • clinical photography
  • diversity
  • medical ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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