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The experience of looking at The Sick Rose, which is a well-curated print presentation of images that are freely accessible digitally on the Wellcome Images site, raises questions about historic medical pictures, and when and in what media it is appropriate to view them. It is one thing to take a beautifully bound book apart into a silent armchair and have a one on one encounter with all the face of an infant wizened by tertiary syphilis, or with a dignified man with a bulbous, untreated pendant tumor. It's another to see the same faces flit by on Pinterest, Tumblr, or Twitter, in a jumble of other unrelated images and detached from Barnett's circumstance -supplying scholarship.
Afflictions, the majority of which are now rare in the Western world organize the Sick Rose: cholera, tuberculosis, gout, advanced stages of syphilis. Online, the patients' suffering runs the danger of being seen as classic"---almost comical in its terrible extremity and its distance from our own time. In a blog post about the procedure for assembling and later promoting The Sick Rose, Barnett admitted to a feeling of unease" about sending the images away into the whole world, worrying in regards to the kitsch, knowing, and emptily ironized attitude" that could greet the pictures. (When Wired ran a slideshow of pictures 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're not envisioned."
As historical medical images go digital, scholars and archivists are being forced to weigh the benefits of disseminating the interesting and undoubtedly important record of the evolution of medical practice with concerns that the images will soon be misunderstood and misused. Making the images accessible will almost certainly cause some tone-deaf uses and aspect at best---manipulating the shock value of a disfigured face or body at On the flip side, digitization of the sorts of images which were once available only to researchers with the means to travel to archives can do a great deal of good. Such visibility can raise awareness about past wrongs, ease connections between historians and also the families of former patients provide us with a new way to think about our own mortality. (Because there are excellent arguments on either side, and because these medical images can be upsetting to some readers, we have decided to place the photographs we are printing with this specific article behind an electronic scrim, which allows you, the reader, to choose whether to view them.)
Here's one instance that demonstrates how far such digitized pictures can slip from their circumstances. Art historian Suzannah Biernoff has written about the destiny 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 required maxillofacial surgery. Gillies commissioned photographers and artists to document his patients' presurgical injuries, using the pictures to plan the approach of his team.
These pictures ended up on the Web as a portion of a mid-2000s exhibition titled Project Faade (now archived via the Wayback Machine ). The project, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust's SciArt Production Award, was a cooperation 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 with inspiration from these archives later formed the basis of an exhibit at the National Army Museum in London. The project, Hartley writes on his website , was meant to learn more about the impact of veterans' wartime injuries and following facial surgeries on their lives.
After the exhibition had closed but the digital images had another life. Some photos from the Job Faade archive ended up used in the design of the genetic mutants (splicers") that players of the videogame BioShock must battle. Henry Lumley, among the patients in the pictures, a pilot trainee, lived with his injury for a year and was injured on the day of his graduation from flying school before being admitted 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 forced to wander about in virtual space, made into monsters for the entertainment of gamers.
Std test nearest Woodland. Does this matter, given that many (most?) BioShock players will never understand who these men 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 almost black---a fate worse than death"---and images of soldiers injured in this manner were censored, lest they diminish morale. So if gamers never understand the characters they're seeing on screen were once actual men, it can nevertheless feel when they are trotted out as digitized monsters, like these men, ostracized in life, are being wronged again. Woodland, GA United States std test. As Wellcome Library archivist Natalie Walters pointed out in a post on the connection between BioShock as well as the Gillies Archive: That nearly 100 years later similar images are used to frighten folks in a computer game, gives us a peek into what life must have been like for people who sustained such disfiguring injuries." (She includes: How brave these guys were to enable themselves to be photographed with extensive injuries, and to undergo treatments that often made them seem worse before they appeared better.")
Std Test nearby Woodland. Dr. Andrew Bamji, the Gillies Archives' curator, told me over email that he approached the game's programmers after finding out about this use and succeeded in contacting one. I pointed out that the use of identifiable men in the circumstance of the game was an appalling method to heal the memory of veterans," Bamji wrote. He apologized and assured me that no further such pictures would be used, and there the matter ended." Bamji drew a clear distinction between the use of such images in a job like BioShock, where they were disassociated from the names and narratives of the patients, and the Project Faade of Hartley. Std test nearest Georgia. I have no issue with the display of images in a historical context, as without this people do not comprehend what war can do."
Should we limit accessibility to upsetting digital images to people who we can be sure will see them in appropriate context? Michael Sappol , a historian at the U.S. National Library of Medicine who has written about historical and modern medical display, has an argument to the contrary. The NLM's digital groups have lately posted a run of silent medical movies from between 1929 and 1945 , some of which signify what Sappol calls hard issues": leprosy, electroshock, schizophrenia. Sappol mentions, in particular, this 1929 film made at Cook County Hospital in Chicago , which shows four kids that are dying of rabies. Fight, the patients convulse, bleed from the mouth; they're inconsolable, even as gloved adult hands reach from off screen to hold them or offer them water.
Sappol does not think it should be the occupation of the librarian or archivist to determine that the public can't handle looking at pictures 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 areas and arrogate to myself the job of being some kind of officer of 'who can view.' " With the NLM's electroshock therapy films from the 1930s, Sappol says, A Number of the men and women in this movie ... appear like they surely don't consent to the process, also it's disturbing to see. I really could say 'This individual does not need to be on camera, they are being humiliated.' But this is from. If we never get to see this, who gets to know?" The curiosity we feel about such pictures, he contends, isn't shameful, but only human.
The matter is further complicated by the fact that some subjects favor visibility. This really is the case with all the Thalidomide Trust archive, which includes 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 perspectives of thalidomiders themselves on what should happen with their case files vary widely, but some undoubtedly need their files and images made available for research as a willful action to open up disagreement."Of course, there's no method to ask the patients whose bodies appear in The Sick Rose whether they would prefer to be viewed or remain concealed. But the modern case of thalidomide shows that we shouldn't suppose that publication is tantamount to infringement.
Nor should we assume that the Web is a serious medium than the bound-and- printed book. Historian Miriam Posner, who wrote her dissertation on medical filmmaking, is additionally a digital historian committed to making her sources freely accessible. Woodland, GA 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 photographs 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 operations.
But Posner ultimately went ahead with the Science Friday slideshow, reasoning that by simply asking viewers to take a second look at the before" images of patients, which Freeman presented for his own goals as broken," she might be able to show that these faces contain more options than Freeman ever saw." A commenter on Posner's place wrote that he had lately discovered that his grandpa, who he had never met, had been institutionalized and lobotomized in West Virginia. The commenter wrote: I have not seen a picture of my grandpa, never and I really don't care if it's a picture of him having this done I only want and desire to see a picture of him so MUCH. Can you tell me the best way to get to these archives?" If Posner hadn't gone with Science Friday, it might have been much harder for the commenter to find her; the connection might not have been made. Std Test closest to Woodland.
Eventually, there's a spiritual argument for making such pictures available. GA United States Std Test. Even if medical pictures might be misused, Michael Sappol says, I really don't need that possibility to prevent these things that are actually amazing files of the human experience from being seen. ... We can learn from them, they could redeem us in some way. They could supply us with some kind of curriculum of human suffering. ... Looking at them makes life richer and deeper." Barnett, despite his misgivings, agrees on this particular point: There's a power behind these pictures, there's a power they have over us, and we have to acknowledge or respect this at some point." He compares the pictures to a lay 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 conclusion that we all come to."
Still, a vanitas needs 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 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 contemplate mortality. But she wondered how this could function---or fail to work---in a modern society," where space reserved for being serious is difficult to come by." One wonders what she may have made of Pinterest if she thought that about television, novels, and art galleries.
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