zondag 1 mei 2011

Utrecht Goitre Paul Kooiker Mirelle Thijsen's Choice of Photobooks on Care environments and Matters of Life and Death Photography

Utrechtse Krop (Utrecht Goitre) shows unique medical historical photographs alongside work by Dutch photographer and artist Paul Kooiker (winner of the 1996 Prix de Rome for photography).

`Utrechtse Krop` (Utrecht goitre) was the name given to a thyroid condition once common in the Dutch town of Utrecht, due to a deficiency of iodine in drinking water. The exhibition Utrechtse Krop in De Kabinetten van De Vleeshal centred around the appeal of illness and the fragility of our physical being. The photographs on display came from the archives of Utrecht`s university hospital – records of medical disorders, photographed since circa 1890.

In the early days of medical photography clinical standards had yet to be formulated for photographic images. Consequently, many photographs are more poignant and beautiful than they are scientific. Light, space and patients` complete submission to doctors and photographers evoke feelings of compassion, surprise, embarrassment and amusement rather than disgust or scientific curiosity.

This guide focuses on the meaning and significance of photobooks concerning health care environments. Heart-rending, intimate stories on matters of life, sickness, death and personal loss, are observed and experienced by consecutive generations of photographers working in the documentary tradition. 

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