JET photo by Alastair Philip Wiper

Detail of the JET machine by Alastair Philip Wiper

JET is featured in a fascinating new book full of photos capturing some of the best scientific projects across the world.

Unintended Beauty, by Denmark-based photographer Alastair Philip Wiper, is an exploration of industrial iconography and scientific symbolism found at places as varied as Boeing, the European Space Agency, CERN, ITER and Playmobil.

Alastair came to JET – the European fusion research facility hosted at Culham – back in 2013 and it was one of the first projects he visited as part of the book.

“You can see from my photo of JET that I like to make the most of colours,” he said. “You get a feel for a photo gradually. In this particular one you can see cables and everything, but that doesn’t put me off photos of large machines, for example.”

He added: “I actually didn’t know anything about nuclear fusion prior to being a photographer. It’s a career where I’ve been introduced to a whole load of different and extremely fascinating scientific and industry-led projects. It’s a career which gives you much joy.”

Alastair started taking pictures regularly in 2007 following a period of being a staff photographer for a fashion company he worked for – a role which wasn’t even his main line of work.

Unintended Beauty book cover

Unintended Beauty book cover

“I don’t come from a scientific background at all,” he said. “For me, it’s about coming at photos from a layperson’s point of view. I see things how any outsider would but then I try to be creative with things. Even if the project doesn’t immediately strike me as something which would make a brilliant photo, photography is about staying with it and looking for something extra that won’t immediately be obvious. All you need to do is think creatively about shapes and colours and you can end up becoming fascinated by pictures featuring a myriad of different things – from old industrial projects to fusion machines and oil refineries.”

Alastair plans to do further photography of the construction of the international fusion project ITER over the coming months. You can visit his website for further details of the book and the Unintended Beauty project.

Top photo: Radio Anechoic Chamber at Technical University of Denmark by Alastair Philip Wiper

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