We all know engineering is useful, functional, even ingenious. But the engineering photography competition we hold each year provides us a chance to wander outside its merely utilitarian aspects into dimensions such as beauty, humor, and even humanity to find unexpected connections and poetic resonance.
As one of the judges, one quality I look for in the images is some added dimension, a richness, the capacity to trigger a cascade of unrelated ideas. Quite by accident this year a few of the photos shared an unplanned underwater theme.
The winner (above) appeared to be a starfish. There was a column, perhaps from a pier, encrusted with coral and barnacles.
Concrete Crack Bridge for Self-Healing, electron microscopy prize winner, by Tanvir Qureshi. | (The Conversation/CC BY: Cambridge University)
Then there was a strange ghost fish, the likes of which might range in Challenger Deep.