Saturday, May 02, 2009


Photo-ops everywhere! Look! Is that someone wearing a mask? Get them!!!
Showed up (with the rest of the pack of still and video shooters) at the Washington State Department of Health Public Health Laboratories Thursday afternoon where media were told on a press release that they could "watch staff test flu samples to look for signs of swine (H1N1) flu." This was the lab where officials tested 6 samples the day before that were sent off to Atlanta to be confirmed as swine flu.
We split into two groups (still shooters first), and went into the lab where the microbiologist was standing at his work station testing samples. As we started asking questions about what was what, what vile was the flu sample in, etc, it quickly became clear that he wasn't actually testing anything, instead he was performing for us with various tubes full of water, some even tinted ominous, eye-catching colors like red!
Yeah, so, not a real photo at all. It's weird and misleading because, if it's real, that's kind of a scary photo - there would be the stuff that people are freaking out about, right there in front of them in a tube.
Instead, you have a scary visual representation of something that's not truthful. Of course, the newspaper still wants it, so I tried to provide something that did NOT show him working and made it clear in my caption that he was demonstrating for the media.

Mark Mulligan / The Herald
Denny Russell, Lead Microbiologist at the Washington State Department of Health Public Health Laboratory in Shoreline, shows media the bio safety cabinet used in the process to test flu samples. The lab sent six samples tested in the laboratory on Wednesday to be further screened in Atlanta.
Photo taken 043009

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