In the Developing Room’s first symposium, six speakers offered a variety of critical and creative perspectives on the relationship between photography and medicine. Their goal was to explore new questions concerning the historical, aesthetic, social, and ethical dimensions of that relationship.
The goal of this symposium was to explore new questions concerning the historical, aesthetic, social, and ethical dimensions of that relationship. These included:
- What kinds of relationships were constructed between Western photography and medicine in the nineteenth century? How did they evolve over time in dialogue with changing scientific, artistic, social, and cultural conditions?
- What aesthetic conventions infiltrated early medical photographs? How did they support or undermine the “scientific” aims of photographers?
- How do medical photographs relate to the cures they call for or represent?
- Can a photograph ever heal?
- What ethical questions have been raised about photographing the exterior and/or interior of the medical body?
- How have photographers negotiated such medical concepts as informed consent and “do no harm”?
- How does the doctor-patient relationship compare with that of the photographer-subject?
- In what ways can the photographic medium function as a “visual voice” for patients and a tool for social justice in medical communities today?