Performing Medicine offers courses which examine the relationship between looking and being looked at, using photography as a point of departure. Students explore the relationship between medicine and photography from a variety of creative perspectives, being encouraged to think critically about how representations and understandings of the body are produced by medical photography, and how these relate to broader cultural ideas.
Photographer and course leader Liz Orton introduces students to a broad range of visual artists including Jo Spence and Deborah Padfield. These artists’ works explore the human body beyond the biomedical model, inviting viewers to consider their own and others’ bodies as a site of experience, resistance, intelligence and emotion as well as illness.
Students also investigate what happens when photography is used as a model for patient self-expression and communication. How can the photographer-subject relationship help us think about issues of consent and power in the doctor-patient relationship?
Throughout the course students develop a small portfolio of their own work on any subject related to health, exploring subjects as diverse as ethics, body image, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, hypochondria, pain and depression.
A selection of projects created as part of the Medicine and Photography course for second year students at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry are shown in the gallery below: