Portrait: Jun Yang

Jun Yang2_700_BW

I shot a few portraits of colleagues the other day for one of our core funding grants from Research to Prevent Blindness.  From a photographic perspective, shooting in a laboratory environment can be difficult with atrocious light from a mixture of fluorescent, tungsten, xenon, sunlight and LED sources, all with different white balances.  The trick is to get rid of as much of it as you can and then build up what you want alá a Strobist approach.  This shot of Jun Yang was made by shutting off all of the overhead fluorescent lighting, adding in some accent lighting on the microscope base to highlight her hands and then filling in the rest with two strobes behind simple umbrellas as fillers behind and to the left of the camera.  Shades were half opened and drawn over the South facing window at back and the aperture opened up to f/2.8 to blur out the lines from the shades while still allowing some fill on the shelves behind Jun’s head.

As an aside, I love Jun’s work.  Her lab focuses on the genetics of retinal degeneration, focusing specifically on the mechanisms of a set of inherited diseases called Usher Syndrome where people go blind and deaf due to defects in the cytoskeleton of photoreceptors in the eye and hair cells in the ear.  Jun’s work is clean, focused and precise and always a pleasure to read.

Jun obtained her B.S. degree from the Biology Department at Nankai University in China and then worked in industry for 7 years.  She then came to the United States and started her Ph.D. study at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She earned her Ph.D. degree in Dr. R. Thomas Zoeller‘s laboratory, where she studied gene expression changes in fetal alcohol syndrome.  Jun did her post-doc in the Berman-Gund laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations at Harvard Medical School under the supervision of Dr. Tiansen Li.  In 2008, Jun established her own laboratory as an assistant professor here at the John A Moran Eye Center, University of Utah.

7 Replies to “Portrait: Jun Yang”

  1. Before reading your explanation, I noticed the light on her left hand and it’s perfect. It looks like it just “happened”, but of course you planned it that way. The art is in not making it look planned.

    1. Thanks Ruben. This one turned out pretty good and Jun was wonderfully patient while we set it up. That said, from start to finish we spent about 15 minutes in the lab.

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