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   A Microscopical Biography.

John Walsh.

I acquired my first microscope at age twelve as a requested Christmas gift.

Studied industrial chemistry for four years at Footscray Senior Technical College, Melbourne (now Victoria University) for the Diploma of Applied Chemistry, and later taught general science, mathematics and chemistry at a Melbourne suburban high school for three years.

Spent three years working as a laboratory technician in various university departments -- pharmacology and biochemistry research at Melbourne University, and bacteriology teaching at Sydney University -- a post which involved setting up and assisting in practical bacteriology classes for dental and medical students, tied in with the teaching activities of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

A working holiday in far-north Queensland involved some months as a technician in the bacteriology lab at Cairns Base Hospital, and a few months analysing samples in the laboratories of Comalco's bauxite mine at Weipa, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

After a career change to full time photography, worked as company photographer to the Australian Opera in Sydney for a period of four years. Did similar publicity, production and front-of-house photography for the Old Tote Theatre Company, and photographed Sydney productions for the Australian Ballet. Enjoyed particularly covering the opening season of the Sydney Opera House in 1973 with pictures which were published around the world.

Accepted and sought photojournalism commissions from various Sydney-based magazines and newspapers in the periods between theatre productions, and did occasional stills photography on film productions.
Taught photography and b/w photographic printing to art students at the East Sydney College of Art for a year (1970).
Continued in theatre photography and photojournalism in London, covering the final construction stages and opening season of the National Theatre on the South Bank for Smithsonian magazine in 1976.

Had begun serious photomicrography in London in 1975 funded by a grant from the Australian Arts Council. This involved the construction of photomicrographic illumination systems using electronic flash, and later, with electronic design by long-time friend Mike Boudry, built a cinemicrography flash system using a custom-built high-power water-cooled xenon flashtube synchronized to the shutter of an Arriflex 16mm movie camera, and capable of filming at 50fps (article in preparation).

Supplied photomicrographs for an article on pond life published in Smithsonian, the magazine of the Smithsonian Institution, January, 1978.
Entry, showing a rotifer feeding, wins first prize for photomicrography in the Royal Microscopical Society's micrograph competition of 1978.
Seven page article on rotifers, illustrated with flash photomicrographs, published in National Geographic magazine, February, 1979.
Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Commission for 16mm movie footage of micro organisms used in "Genesis" documentary TV series, 1980.

Became a member of the Royal Microscopical Society and joined the Quekett Club (a long-established group of amateur microscopists) whilst based in London.

During this time was involved with research workers at the British Antarctic Survey Cambridge, Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in various projects requiring the photo- and cinemicrography of living specimens.
Over the following years worked from time to time with the BBC Natural History Unit at Bristol, UK, on various commissions, shooting micrographic and macro aerial-image video sequences which were broadcast in prime-time documentary series (Lifesense, 1991) and educational children's television shows.

Worked as an optical designer in the Wardour Street film district in London's Soho for ten years, mostly as consultant to companies involved in special effects for feature  films, and chiefly as the (then) one - man optical engineering department of External Website The Computer Film Company Ltd. from its inception in 1984.
Designed and built for CFC (with assistance from the late Theo Brown) the optical/mechanical components for an evolving series of film scanning systems, culminating in a high-resolution multi-format (35mm to Imax) automated digital film scanner, which in 1995 won for the company and its CEO Dr. Mike Boudry the first of two technical Academy Awards for pioneering advances in film scanning.
Following a recent merger, Framestore/CFC became the largest digital special effects company in Europe.

Return to Australia in late 1995 marked a long-overdue personal return to applied critical light microscopy, and recent efforts have been largely devoted to the internet publication of This has involved selecting and scanning from thousands of photomicrographs, and drawing upon working notes and acquired specialist texts gathered over a period of more than 25 years, to produce a web resource for serious and innovative light microscopists -- the celebration of an instrument which is one of the most horizon-expanding, yet practically useful of human inventions.

John Walsh,