Photographer Meera Sethi has written a nice essay about taking photos in science museums. Sethi is part of Utata, a collective of photographers who met via Flickr. Indeed, be sure to check out Sethi's "Muse" science museum photo set on Flickr. (Seen here, "Together Forever," taken at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.) From "Photographing the Science Museum":
Is there anyone who doesn't feel a certain frisson of excitement when they see something organic preserved in a glass jar? I don't know exactly what it is, but I suspect it might have something to do with certain cultural associations we all carry around in our heads, some strange common currency that comes from years of watching mad scientist movies late at night.That might be me in there, I find myself thinking. If some other intellectually curious species with opposable thumbs and access to the secrets of chemistry had come to dominate the planet instead of my own, that might be my shriveled body all scrunched up in there–my brain at whose familiar whorls some creature with a purple exoskeleton would now be leering through the glass, wondering how on earth it could be so very...grey.Photographing the Science Museum (Utata, via Eastern Blot)
Mostly, though, what I love about standing in front of these heavy jars is how much easier they make it to observe the world I love so much, in close detail. Time pauses, temporarily. The barriers between me and the mysteries of this earth fall, temporarily. Nothing else matters except looking, and everything about the place where I am is designed to make it easier to look–and to see. I see that this barnacle has claws like a dragon's. I see that these spiders have legs like sharp needles. I see that this frog has approximately six times as many organs inside its torso as I would have thought it had room for. I try to look as much as I can, and when I have looked until I have seen, I take out my camera.