Event Details

Alienation and Beauty in Medical Photography

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Lecture Edinburgh

Date: Wednesday, 10 January 2018


Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
9 Queen Street


Speaker: Dr Lauren Summersgill (Birkbeck, University of London)

When the first medical photographs were taken in 1840, the camera was presented as a revolution to medical education, psychiatry and pathology. Gradually, however, two things became apparent: medical photographs alienated the subject and they were, quite frankly, ugly. The concern with aesthetics and the relationship between the body and the patient would combine to shape the future of medical photography, and in some ways medicine itself.

Closely examining two cases – Duchenne’s Mécanisme de la Physionomie Humaine (1856), and Grant’s An Atlas of Anatomy (1962) – this talk will consider the role of alienation and beauty in medical photography, and the evocative questions each raised for doctors.

This event is part of the Edinburgh History of Medicine Group, a collaboration between the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh.

You can register for this lecture here on Eventbrite.

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This event begins at 4.30pm and ends at 5.30pm.

You can register for this lecture here on Eventbrite.

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This event is free.

You can register for this lecture here on Eventbrite.

Further information is available from:

Iain Milne


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Further Info


As a listed building, the College has restricted disabled access. A wheelchair lift is provided at the rear of the College giving access to the Conference Centre and the main historic rooms, but not all of the smaller rooms used for educational events. For further information and assistance please contact the RCPE Co-ordinator responsible for the event.

Accommodation and Directions to the College

The College has negotiated special rates with a number of local hotels.

Interactive map and directions

Download pdf map and directions

Bicycle racks are available for cyclists at the door to 8 Queen Street. For access to further bicycle racks, please ask at reception.

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