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The experience of looking at The Sick Rose, which is a well-curated print presentation of pictures that are freely available digitally on the Wellcome Images site, raises questions about historic medical pictures, and when and in what media it's proper to look at them. It's one thing to take a beautifully bound book aside into a quiet armchair and have a one on one encounter with with a dignified man with a bulbous, untreated pendant tumour, or the face of a baby wizened by tertiary syphilis. It's another to see exactly the same faces flit by on Pinterest, Tumblr, or Twitter, in a jumble of other unrelated pictures and detached from Barnett's context -supplying scholarship.
The Sick Rose is organized by afflictions, most of which are now rare in the Western world: cholera, tuberculosis, gout, advanced phases of syphilis. On the Internet, the patients' anguish runs the danger of being seen as vintage"---almost amusing in its awful extremity and its space from our own time. In a blog post about the procedure for assembling and after promoting The Sick Rose, Barnett admitted to a sense of unease" about sending the pictures away into the world, worrying in regards to the kitsch, knowing, and emptily ironized attitude" that could greet the pictures. (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 images of something that happened to someone somewhere. They aren't imagined."
As historical medical pictures go archivists, scholars and digital are being compelled to weigh the benefits of disseminating the unquestionably significant and interesting record of the evolution of medical practice with concerns the images will probably be misunderstood and misused. Making the images available will most likely result in some tone-deaf uses, lacking empathy and respect at best---exploiting the shock value of an at body disfigured face or On the other hand, digitization of the kinds of images which were once available only to researchers with the means to travel to archives can do lots of great. Such visibility can raise consciousness about past wrongs, facilitate the families of former patients and also connections between historians , even provide us with a brand new strategy to think about our own mortality. (Because there are excellent arguments on either side, and because these medical images could be upsetting to some readers, we've chosen to place the photographs we're publishing with this article behind a digital scrim, allowing you, the reader, to choose whether to view them.)
Here's one instance that shows how far such digitized pictures can steal away from their contexts. 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 particular unit treating injuries that demanded maxillofacial surgery. Gillies commissioned photographers and artists to document his patients' presurgical injuries, using the pictures to plan his team's strategy.
These photos ended up on the Web as a portion of a mid-2000s exhibition titled Project Faade (now archived through the Wayback Machine ). The project, which was financed 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 visuals that Hartley made from these archives with inspiration afterwards formed the basis of an exhibition at the National Army Museum in London. The project, Hartley writes on his website , was intended to learn more about the impact of veterans' wartime injuries and subsequent facial surgeries on their lives.
Following the exhibition had closed but the digital images had another life. Some photos from the Endeavor Faade archive ended up used in the design of the genetic mutants (splicers") that players of the videogame BioShock must battle. Henry Lumley, one of the patients in the pictures, a pilot trainee, was injured on the day of his graduation from flying school and lived with his injury for a year before being admitted to Gillies' care. Lumley died of postoperative complications, at age 26. (Here's his page on the Project Faade website And here's a picture of the BioShock character in question) Lumley and his fellow patients are now compelled to drift about in virtual space, made into monsters for the amusement of gamers.
Std test nearby Deep River. Does this matter, given that many (most?) BioShock players WOn't ever understand who these men were in real life? Biernoff writes that British culture during the World War I perceived death in battle as glorious, but facial mutilation was seen as virtually black---a fate worse than death"---and images of soldiers injured in this manner were censored, lest they reduce morale. So even if gamers never understand the characters they are seeing on screen were once real men, it can still feel when they're trotted out as digitized monsters like these guys, ostracized in life, are being wronged again. Deep River, CT, United States Std Test. As Wellcome Library archivist Natalie Walters pointed out in a post on the connection between BioShock and also the Gillies Archive: That nearly 100 years after similar images are used to frighten people in a computer game, gives us a peek into what life should have been like for individuals who sustained such disfiguring injuries." (She adds: How courageous these men were to let themselves to be photographed with extensive injuries, and to get treatments that frequently made them look worse before they looked better.")
Std test near me Deep River. Dr. Andrew Bamji, the Gillies Archives' curator, told me over email that he approached the game's developers after finding out about this use and succeeded in contacting one. I pointed out that using identifiable men in the context of the game was an appalling way to treat the memory of veterans," Bamji wrote. He apologized and assured me that no further such images would be utilized, and there the matter ended." Bamji drew a clear distinction between the use of such images in a project like BioShock, where they were disassociated from the names and stories of the patients, and Hartley's Project Faade. Std test near Connecticut. I don't have any problem with the display of pictures in a historical context, as without this folks don't comprehend what war can do."
Should we confine access to upsetting digital images to individuals who we can be certain will perceive them in appropriate 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 lately posted a run of silent medical pictures from between 1929 and 1945 , some of which signify what Sappol calls tough issues": leprosy, electroshock, schizophrenia. Sappol mentions, in particular, this 1929 movie made at Cook County Hospital in Chicago , which shows four kids that are dying of rabies. Struggle, the patients convulse, bleed from the mouth; they are inconsolable, even as offer them water or gloved adult hands reach from off screen to hold them.
Sappol does not believe it should be the occupation of the librarian or archivist to decide that the public can't handle looking at images that are such. We are stewards of these historical materials," he told me. They don't belong to us. They belong to everybody. ... I wouldn't like to play 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 ... appear like they certainly do not consent to the process, also it is disturbing to see. I could say 'This individual doesn't want to be on camera, they are being humiliated.' But this is from. If we never get to see this, who gets to understand?" The interest we feel about such images, he contends, isn't shameful, but merely human.
The problem is further complicated by the fact that some subjects prefer visibility. This is the case with all the Thalidomide Trust archive, which contains medical case files on individuals produced withsevere birth defects after their mothers took the drug thalidomide to relieve symptoms of morning sickness in the late 1950s-early-1960s," Wellcome archivist Helen Wakely wrote to me. The viewpoints of thalidomiders themselves on what should happen with their case files vary widely, but some undoubtedly need their files and images made accessible for research as a deliberate action to open up debate."Of course, there is not any means to ask the patients whose bodies appear in The Sick Rose whether they'd prefer to be viewed or remain concealed. But the modern example of thalidomide reveals that we must not presume that publication is tantamount to violation.
Nor should we assume the Web is a less serious medium than the bound-and- printed book. Historian Miriam Posner, who wrote her dissertation on medical filmmaking, is also a digital historian committed to making her sources freely accessible. Deep River, CT Std Test. In 2010, Posner posted about the ethical quandary she faced when requested to collaborate with a producer at NPR's show Science Friday on a slideshow of photographs that were lobotomy. Neurologist Walter Freeman, who carried out more than 3,500 of the processes, photographed and filmed his patients before and after their operations.
But Posner ultimately went ahead with the Science Friday slideshow, reasoning that by asking viewers to choose a second look at the before" pictures of patients, which Freeman presented for his own goals as broken," she might have the capacity to reveal that these faces contain more possibilities than Freeman ever saw." A commenter on the place of Posner wrote that he'd lately discovered that his grandfather, who he had never met, had been institutionalized and lobotomized in West Virginia. The commenter wrote: I do not care if it's a graphic of him having this done I just want 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 way to get to these archives?" It might have been much harder for the commenter to find her, if Posner had not gone ahead with Science Friday; the link mightn't have been made. Std Test nearby Deep River.
Eventually, there's a spiritual argument for making such pictures accessible. CT United States Std Test. Even if medical pictures may be abused, Michael Sappol says, I do not desire that chance to prevent these things that are really amazing files of the human experience from being seen. ... We can learn from them, they could redeem us in some way. They can provide us with some form of curriculum of human suffering. ... Looking at them makes life richer and deeper." Barnett, despite his misgivings, concurs on this particular point: There's a power behind these images, there is a power they have over us, and we have to accept or honor 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, pictures like those in the Sick Rose might remind us: This is the body, along with the end that we all come to."
However, a vanitas demands space for contemplation---a space the Web appears ill to offer. Susan Sontag's closing book, Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), was written as the Web was in the process of scattering pictures to the four winds. Sontag wrote that photographs of suffering might be a memento mori " and serve as a still point around which to consider mortality. But she wondered how this may work---or fail to work---in a modern society," where space reserved for being serious is challenging to come by." One wonders what she may have made of Pinterest if she thought that about art galleries, novels, and television.
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BTW I've also been suffering from red & swollen foreskin (place 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 cream against fungi and steroid cortisone but nothing has helped. Std test near Connecticut, United States. Now I am guessing it could be genital psoriasis as the description of this desiese is extremely close to my symptoms. Already discussed with my physician about this and I'll get an appointment using a dermatologist - shortly.
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