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The experience of looking at The Sick Rose, which is a good-curated print presentation of images that are accessible on the Wellcome Images site, raises questions about medical images that are historical, and when and in what media it's appropriate to view them. It is one thing to take a beautifully bound book aside into a silent armchair and have a one on one encounter with the face of an infant wizened by tertiary syphilis, or with a dignified man with a bulbous, untreated pendant tumour. It's another to see the same faces detached from Barnett's context and flit by on Pinterest, Tumblr, or Twitter, in a jumble of other unrelated pictures -providing scholarship.
Afflictions, most of which are now rare in the Western world organize the Sick Rose: cholera, gout, tuberculosis, advanced phases of syphilis. On the Internet, the patients' suffering runs the risk of being seen as vintage"---almost comical in its awful extremity and its distance from our own time. In a blog post about the method of assembling and later promoting The Sick Rose, Barnett admitted to a sense of unease" about sending the images away into the whole world, worrying regarding the kitsch, knowing, and emptily ironized attitude" that could greet the images. (When Wired ran a slideshow of photos from Sick Rose in May, for example, it was headlined Awesomely Gross Medical Illustrations From the 19th Century") Over Skype, Barnett told me: These are all pictures of something that happened to someone somewhere. They aren't visualized."
As historic medical images go digital, scholars and archivists are being compelled to consider the advantages of disseminating the certainly significant and fascinating record of the development of medical practice with matters the images will be misused and misunderstood. Making the pictures accessible will almost surely cause some tone-deaf uses, lacking empathy and regard at best---manipulating the shock value of a disfigured face or body at On the other hand, digitization of the types of pictures that were once available only to researchers with the resources to travel to archives can do lots of good. Such visibility can raise awareness about past wrongs, ease connections between historians as well as the families of former patients , even supply us with a fresh approach to think about our own mortality. (Because there are great arguments on either side, and because these medical images could be disturbing to some readers, we've chosen to set the pictures we're publishing with this particular post behind a digital scrim, which allows you, the reader, to decide whether to see them.)
Here's one instance that demonstrates how far such digitized photos can steal away from their circumstances. Art historian Suzannah Biernoff has written about the fate of a group of patient pictures from the Gillies Archives These are the World War I-era records of Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, in the U.K., where plastic surgeon Harold Gillies headed a specific unit treating injuries that necessitated maxillofacial surgery. Gillies commissioned artists and photographers to document his patients' presurgical harms, using the images to plan his team's strategy.
These photos ended up on the Web as part of a mid-2000s exhibit titled Project Faade (now archived via the Wayback Machine ). The job, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust's SciArt Production Award, was a collaboration among artist Paddy Hartley; Dr. Andrew Bamji, a rheumatologist who acts as curator of the Gillies Archives; and Dr. Ian Thompson, a surgeon and designer of facial implants. The art that Hartley made from these archives with inspiration later formed the foundation of an exhibition at London's National Army Museum. The endeavor, Hartley writes on his website , was intended to learn more about the effect of veterans' wartime injuries and following facial operations on their lives.
Following the exhibit had closed, but the digital images had another life. Some photographs from the Job Faade archive ended up used in the design of the genetic mutants (splicers") that players of the videogame BioShock must battle. One of the patients in the photos, Henry Lumley, a pilot trainee, lived with his injury for a year and was injured on the day of his graduation from flying school before being declared to Gillies' care. Lumley died of postoperative complications, at age 26. (Here's his page on the Project Faade site And here's an image of the BioShock character in question) Lumley and his fellow patients are now compelled to wander about in virtual space, made into monsters for the amusement of gamers.
Std Test nearest Canyon. Does this issue, given that many (most?) BioShock players will never understand who these guys were in real life? Biernoff writes that British culture during the World War I perceived departure in battle as glorious, but facial mutilation was seen as nearly shameful---a fate worse than death"---and pictures of soldiers injured in this way were censored, lest they decrease morale. So if gamers never realize the characters they are seeing on screen were once actual men, it can nevertheless feel when they are trotted out as digitized monsters, like these guys, ostracized in life, are being wronged again. Canyon, CA United States std test. As Wellcome Library archivist Natalie Walters pointed out in a post on the connection between BioShock along with the Gillies Archive: That almost 100 years after comparable pictures are used to frighten people in a computer game, gives us a glance into what life should have been like for individuals who sustained such disfiguring injuries." (She includes: How brave these guys were to let themselves to be photographed with extensive injuries, and to experience treatments that frequently made them appear worse before they appeared better.")
Std Test in Canyon. Dr. Andrew Bamji, the Gillies Archives' curator, told me over e-mail that he approached the game's developers after finding out about this use and succeeded in contacting one. I pointed out that the use of identifiable guys in the context of the game was an appalling method to heal the memory of veterans," Bamji wrote. He apologized and assured me that no further such images would be used, and there the matter ended." Bamji drew a clear distinction between using such pictures in a job like BioShock, where they were disassociated from the names and stories of the patients, and the Project Faade of Hartley. Std Test in California. I have no problem with the display of images in a historical context, as without this folks do not understand what war can do."
Should we confine access to upsetting digital images to people who we can be certain will see them in proper context? Michael Sappol , a historian at the U.S. National Library of Medicine who has written about historical and contemporary medical display, has an argument to the contrary. The NLM's digital groups have recently posted a series of hushed medical films from between 1929 and 1945 , some of which symbolize what Sappol calls difficult issues": leprosy, electroshock, schizophrenia. Sappol mentions, in particular, this 1929 movie made at Cook County Hospital in Chicago , which shows four kids who are dying of rabies. Fight, the patients convulse, bleed from the mouth; they are inconsolable, even as gloved adult hands reach from off screen to hold them or offer them water.
Sappol doesn't believe it should be the job of the librarian or archivist to determine that the people can't handle looking at such pictures. We're stewards of these historical materials," he told me. They do not belong to us. They belong to everybody. ... I would not like to act on behalf of the subjects and arrogate to myself the occupation of being some type of cop of 'who can view.' " With the NLM's electroshock therapy films from the 1930s, Sappol says, A Number of the folks in this movie ... seem like they certainly don't consent to the process, also it's upsetting to see. I really could say 'This individual doesn't want to be on camera, they're being humiliated.' But this is something we can learn from. If we never get to see this, who gets to understand?" The fascination we feel about such pictures, he argues, isn't shameful, but merely human.
The problem is further complicated by the fact that visibility is preferred by some subjects. This is actually the case with all the Thalidomide Trust archive, which comprises medical case files on people born withsevere birth defects after their mothers took the drug thalidomide to ease symptoms of morning sickness in the late 1950s-early-1960s," Wellcome archivist Helen Wakely wrote to me. The perspectives of thalidomiders themselves on what should happen with their case files vary widely, but some undoubtedly need their files and pictures made accessible for research as a deliberate act to open up discourse."Of course, there is no method to ask the patients whose bodies appear in The Sick Rose whether they'd prefer to be seen or stay concealed. Nevertheless, the modern example of thalidomide reveals that we shouldn't suppose that publication is tantamount to infringement.
Nor should we suppose that the Web is a serious medium than the bound-and- printed book. Historian Miriam Posner, who wrote her dissertation on medical filmmaking, is also a digital historian dedicated to making her sources publicly accessible. Canyon CA Std Test. In 2010, Posner posted about the ethical quandary she faced when asked to collaborate with a producer at NPR's show Science Friday on a slideshow of photos that were lobotomy. Neurologist Walter Freeman, who carried out more than 3,500 of the procedures, photographed and patients his filmed before and after their surgeries.
But Posner finally went ahead with the Science Friday slideshow, reasoning that by simply asking viewers to take a second look at the before" pictures of patients, which Freeman presented for his own motives as broken," she might be able to reveal that these faces feature more options than Freeman ever saw." A commenter on Posner's post wrote that he'd recently discovered that his grandpa, who he'd never met, had been institutionalized and lobotomized in West Virginia. The commenter wrote: I don't care if it's an image of him having this done I just desire and need to see a picture of him so MUCH, and I haven't seen a picture of my grandpa, never, ever. Can you tell me the best way to get to these archives?" It might have been much tougher for the commenter to locate her if Posner hadn't gone with Science Friday; the connection mightn't have been made. Std Test nearest Canyon.
Finally, there is a spiritual argument for making such images accessible. CA United States Std Test. Even if medical images might be misused, Michael Sappol says, I don't desire that possibility to prevent these things that are actually amazing files of the human experience from being seen. ... We can learn from them, they are able to redeem us in some way. They can supply us with some form of curriculum of human suffering. ... Looking at them makes life richer and deeper." Barnett, despite his misgivings, concurs on this point: There is a power behind these images, there is a power they have over us, and we have to recognize or respect this at some point." He compares the images to a laic vanitas ," referring to the 17th-century Dutch paintings of skulls and other symbols of decay that were meant to remind the viewer of human mortality. For modern viewers, Barnett says, images like those in the Sick Rose might remind us: This is the body, as well as the end that we all come to."
Still, a vanitas requires space for contemplation---a space the Web looks ill prepared to offer. Susan Sontag's closing book, Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), was written as the Web was in the method of scattering photographs to the four winds. Sontag wrote that photos of suffering could be a memento mori " and function as a still point around which to consider mortality. But she wondered how this may function---or fail to work---in a modern society," where space reserved for being serious is challenging to come by." If she believed that about art galleries, publications, and television, one wonders what she may have made of Pinterest.
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BTW I've also been suffering from red & swollen foreskin (area near the underside of glans / frenulum area) with occasional paper cuts since 1.5 years - especially after class. Have done tests for STD & fungi but all negative. Have been trying lotion against fungi and steroid cortisone but nothing has helped. Std test nearby California, United States. Now I am suspecting as the description of this desiese is extremely close to my symptoms, it could be genital psoriasis. Already discussed with my doctor about this and I will get an appointment with a dermatologist - hopefully soon.
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