Unrepeatable Images of the Alan Turing Building

I work in the Alan Turing Building at the University of Manchester. Next to the building is an area of green space affectionately known as “Tellytubbie land” in view of its undulations.

That land will be the home of the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, on which construction has recently started. Unfortunately, the new building will dominate the Alan Turing Building, being many storeys higher than it and 8 metres away from it.

Last autumn I took advantage of the excellent mid-October weather to take some photos of the Alan Turing Building that I knew would be unrepeatable because of the imminent construction.

Here they are, along with (at the end) two images taken in September 2015.

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The first three images were taken on a Canon 5D Mark II with 16-35mm lens and the last two were taken on a Fuji X-T1 with 18-55 mm lens. These and other images of the Alan Turing Building are available at the Alamy image library.

How to Pronounce “ISO”

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Fuji X-T1 ISO dial.

For many years film speed, and more recently the amplification level of of a digital sensor, has been described by the ISO number. I have always pronounced ISO as “eye-ess-oh” and this is how I have generally heard others pronounce it.

Recently, I noticed some people using the one-word pronunciation “eye-so”. One such person is Tony Northrup, who states in his book Stunning Digital Photography that this is the correct pronunciation, and explains why in this video.

ISO is the abbreviation for the International Organization for Standardization (so it is not an acronym, which would have to be “IOS”). This abbreviation was chosen because the translation of the title into different languages leads to different abbreviations, so one was declared official, with “ISO” justified on the ISO website as being “derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal”.

This choice of abbreviation has led to confusion. Looking at photography books on my shelves, I find that The Complete Photography Course (by M. Joseph and D. Saunders, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1993), Digital Food Photography (L. Manna, Thomson, 2005), and The Art of Black and White Photography (J. Garrett, Amphoto, 1990) all state that ISO is an abbreviation for the “International Standards Organization”. This is what you would guess if you reverse engineer the abbreviation, but it is not correct.

But this is besides the point. There is no reason to pronounce ISO letter by letter. It is a pronounceable word, just like GIFF, NATO, and UNESCO. So “eye-so” it is.