Mirrors in Early Clinical Photography

February 1, 2016 § 4 Comments

sterileeye-mirrors

Left: Wikimedia Commons. Right: National Museum of Health and Medicine. Creative Commons.

I have published a paper in the Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine called Mirrors in Early Clinical Photography (1862-1882): A Descriptive Study.

Abstract:
In the mid-19th century, photographers used mirrors to document different views of a patient in the same image. The first clinical photographs were taken by portrait photographers. As conventions for clinical photography were not yet established, early clinical photographs resemble contemporary portraits. The use of mirrors in clinical photography probably originated from the portrait studios, as several renowned photographers employed mirrors in their studio portraits. Clinical photographs taken for the US Army Medical Museum between 1862 and 1882 show different ways of employing this mirror technique.

The full article is available at Taylor & Francis Online.

If you are interested in reading the full article and do not have access, please contact me.

Here is an interview with me about the article (in Norwegian).

Here is a blog post on the same subject I posted a few years back.

More photos with mirrors can be found on the National Museum of Health & Medicine’s Flickr-page.

 

Errata:
Reference 13 is incorrectly attributed to the University of California. The correct reference is:

Pitts T. William Bell: Philadelphia photographer [Master thesis]. Tucson: University of Arizona; 1987:12-25.

The document is available online here.

 

Photography and the American Civil War

May 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York has an ongoing exhibition of more than two hundred photographs from the American Civil War, including a number of medical photographs.

In the video above curator Jeff L. Rosenheim talks about some of the highlights of the exhibition.

You can see 51 of the photographs on the MET website here, and 6 medical photographs here. CBS has made an interesting report on the exhibition.

Also check out my post on the use of mirrors in civil war medical photographs.

Making a Tintype

March 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

A year back I wrote a post on the use of mirrors in vintage medical photos, with most examples from the American Civil War. The common photographic technique of that time was the tintype photograph. Check out this video from the George Eastman House to see how the process was done.

Mirror of the Body

February 8, 2011 § 5 Comments

“Man with Shoulder Amputation, 1874, James Robinson, D.D.S., Dublin” © The Burns Archive. Used with kind permission.

Ever since seeing this fascinating photo of a man with a shoulder amputation on the cover of Scope Magazine, I have been interested in the use of mirrors in vintage clinical photographs. Using a mirror to reflect another view of a body part or wound was common in the mid-nineteenth century. « Read the rest of this entry »

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