An image of an unborn foal has won a prestigious award for London-based photographer Mick Frank, in the 14th Wellcome Image Awards.
The photograph of a pregnant uterus from a New Forest pony, about five months into the pregnancy, shows the developing fetus outside the uterus but remaining attached by its membranes and umbilical cord. The bent back legs of the fetus are sticking out from the membranes. The uterus has been cut open to reveal its vast blood supply, which is visible on the inner surface. This historical specimen is from a cull animal that happened to be pregnant at the time. It is preserved in formalin in a Perspex container and was photographed in the Anatomy Museum of the Royal Veterinary College in London.
The awards, judged by a panel of nine, were presented on Wednesday, and recognise the creators of the most informative, striking and technically excellent images recently acquired by Wellcome Images, a resource for medical imagery.
One of the judges, James Cutmore, Picture Editor of ‘BBC Focus’, said: “As far as standout images go, the image of the horse’s uterus with the fetus was incredible and just sticks in my mind. It evokes many different emotions at once: it’s fascinating, sad, macabre, almost brutal. Yet the subject is also delicate, detailed and beautiful. The image shows us a large and magnificent creature reduced to this sad, fragile and half-formed creation, which I find very humbling.”
Michael Frank is a commercial photographer with many years of studio and location experience. Another of his pictures, of a goat’s stomach chamber, also featured in the awards.