Social Disease (2003)

My investigation of the body extends to an interest in medicine, culture and representation. The “Social Disease” photographs explore the construction of disease. Mirroring medical photography between the two World Wars, the photographs are intimate portraits of diseased people. These medical portraits are not simply pseudo-specimens; they are large portraits of people looking at you as you are looking at them. They suggest that the location of disease is not “over there” but “here,” disrupting boundaries between bodies that have been sanctioned with health and those that are shunned as ill. Rich and dark in saturation and color, the photographs are compelling, even beautiful, meant to elicit a play between fascination and shame, repulsion and desire, compassion and judgment on the part of the viewer.

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