Friday, November 7, 2014

Photo of an Asylum Patient


Hugh Welch Diamond (1809 – 1886) was an early British psychiatrist and photographer who made a major contribution to the craft of psychiatric photography. He studied medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1824. A doctor by profession, he opened a private practice in Soho, London, and then decided to specialise in psychiatry, being appointed to Brookwood Hospital, the second Surrey County Asylum.

Diamond was fascinated by the possible use of photography in the treatment of mental disorders; some of his many calotypes depicting the expressions of people suffering from mental disorders are particularly moving. These were used not only for record purposes, but also, he claimed in the treatment of patients, although there was little evidence of success (source: Wikipedia).

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3 comments:

  1. Fascinating subject, curious how his work is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It could be 'very easy' to end up in an asylum, especially for women whose husbands put them there.

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  2. That’s an interesting subject and this particular partient looks as though she is responding well to the photographer; however, I expect the the story behind the picture is very different.

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  3. Who knows what is actually going on in this picture, but it's quite an interesting idea, and was surely quite an enjoyable undertaking! It does appear the subject here is happy, and feeling very comfortable!

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