British photographic history

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Seminars: Medical Histories in Photography and Film

The Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University has announced its Spring 2017 seminar series: Medical Histories in Photography and Film. Each takes place in the Clephan Building on Tuesdays from 4-6pm. They are are open to all.  

  • January 10, 2017 (room CL 2.35). Dr Katherine Rawling (Associate Fellow, CHM, University of Warwick). Authority, Agency and Ambiguity: Doctor-Photographers and the 19th Century Medical Photo

    The figure of the doctor-photographer is a crucial actor in the production of many medical or psychiatric patient photographs. Frequently with one foot in each of the camps of science and art, the doctor-photographer responded to the concerns of both spheres of discourse in her or his practices. In this paper I wish to investigate a selection of photographers who were also psychiatric doctors, in an attempt to unpick their dual roles and consider how they negotiated or approached this highly ambiguous and complicated task of photographing their patients. How did practitioners reconcile these roles, or did they feel they needed to? What happens to a photograph when it is taken by a doctor? Is the act of photographing approached in a different way? What is the effect on the subject/sitter/patient? Do doctors produce different photographs compared to non-medical photographers? Are their photographs then viewed differently?
    As a representation of the doctor-patient encounter, psychiatric patient photographs offer an opportunity to consider issues of control, authority, consent, complicity, resistance, intimacy, agency, the production and communication of knowledge, and professionalization and identity formation. Each photograph produced by a doctor is a visualisation of the relationship between a patient and their practitioner but, also, that between a subject or sitter and their photographer. The images are therefore ambiguous and fluid, with multiple meanings and uses.

  • February 7, 2017 (room CL 2.30). Dr Lukas Engelmann (Research Associate, CRASSH, University of Cambridge). Picturing the Unusual. Medical Photography as ‘Experimental System

  • March 4, 2017 (room CL 2.29).  Dr Anna Toropova (Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, University of Nottingham). Cinema and Medicine in Revolutionary Russia

 In case of queries contact Dr Beatriz Pichel beatriz.pichel@dmu.ac.uk

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