Shooting Hearts

Sometimes I’m asked to photograph really weird things. And while my first love is custom portrait photography, I do love a photographic challenge and a change of subject matter always tends to inspire me in some way. So a few weeks ago I got a text message from Mike de la Flor of MD Communications that read, “I need some meat pictures for 3D textures, can you shoot them?” I said sure. The next text was probably my favorite of all texts I’ve ever received, “Do you know where I can get a whole beef heart?”

texture photography

With that meet my meat model, a whole beef heart. Some of you are probably totally grossed out right about now.

Please don’t freak out, you have a heart too, and it looks a lot like that.

I’m actually totally into this sort of thing. I loved dissection day in science class in school. I’m a huge fan of the Body Worlds exhibits and have spent hours sketching at them. With a fine art background it makes sense to study and understand the skeletal and muscle structures of the body when you’re going to paint, sculpt or draw them correctly. Plus the fact that we live and breathe every day and our body’s systems just know what to do is completely fascinating to me. To boot, I’m a tactile visual learner so seeing and touching a heart, the ventricles, all that, makes the info stick in my brain much better than if I just saw a picture in a book or read a paragraph describing it.

So I shot a heart. The goal, capture as much detail as possible with as little reflection spots as possible. (The above image was just shot with my iphone for instagram purposes.) Mike then took the images I shot and used them to texture a 3D model of a human heart. Apparently human hearts and cow hearts are pretty similar, cow hearts are just much larger.

Mike then took his heart model to Guadalajara, Mexico to the PanAmerican University where he gave lectures and workshops on biomedical illustration and visualization. In the main workshop he walked the students through the process of modeling, sculpting, and texturing a human heart in 3ds Max and Mudbox.

Mike is a cool guy.

It was great to collaborate with another artist, learn a little bit about the heart, shoot something totally different from my norm, and know that what I shot was used in education (I’m a big fan of education). So thanks Mike, it was fun. Next time you need some shots of meat, I’m your gal.

You can see more of Mike’s work on his website at or on his Facebook page at

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One Comment

  1. Mickey Ramos June 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Very cool!