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Image of the Week: In the flesh

6 Mar, 2015
In the Flesh - Courtesy of Gemma Tickle/Mosaic

In the flesh – Courtesy of Gemma Tickle/Mosaic

This week we’re celebrating the 1st birthday of our long-form science journalism publication Mosaic. We’ve had a spectacularly successful 12 months, with over 50 stories published that have reached in excess of eight million readers – on our site, and via other outlets who have taken advantage of our Creative Commons licensing to share stories with their audiences. Peta Bell is the Art Director for Mosaic and we asked her to select a favourite image from the past 12 months and tell us how she goes about illustrating the varied (and often complex) stories that Mosaic publishes…

Coming up with images for Mosaic really is a collaborative process.

The subject matter is always well researched from the writers’ end, so I find the most efficient way to produce imagery is to wait to read the copy before finding the right image-maker and commissioning images.

Images need to cover not only the essence of the piece, but also need to be factual correct and relatable – even if the end result is quite conceptual, like the image above.

This particular piece by Gemma Tickle was commissioned for a story on circumcision and what Gemma pulled out of the text was how clinical the procedure was. She was interested in the idea of infection, disease and cleanliness when it came to circumcision, and whether it was done for a religious or an economic reason.

Gemma decided she wanted to make phallic forms using plasticine, plastic and wood, and play around with reflections to bring the piece together. The image above shows a phallic object made from wood, which not only plays the physical form of a penis, but also the slang for penis. It’s simultaneously silly and clever – and a fun fact about it is that it was made by a man with the surname “Wood”.

The series of images in the article was also produced, made and photographed by women (photographed by the wonderful Kate Jackling), which made for a few awkward conversations on set but I genuinely feel worked out to be the most objective and creative way of dealing with the subject matter.

You can see the full set of images that this image is part of and read the full story “The troubled history of the foreskin” on the Mosaic website. Mosaic publishes a new piece each week on a Tuesday, and you can keep up to date with them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Image credit: Gemma Tickle for Mosaic Science

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