Friday, 21 August 2015

photographing lunatics with hugh diamond

At one time, the study of physiognomy was widespread, and one of the early pioneers in photography, doctor Hugh Welch Diamond, took photographs of his patients at the Women's Surrey County Lunatic Asylum between 1848 - 1858, hoping that they may be helped on the way to recovery by looking at their own photographs, realising and discussing how they presented themselves.
Of course we realise now that it is nonsense, but it was taken seriously for a long time, and let's face it, most people judge others within seconds by the way they look and present themselves (including me).
Here are some photographs of some of the ladies, and one of Mr Diamond himself.
Rather sadly, although Mr Diamond may have been a fine, upstanding example of morality, looking at some of the women, l would put good money on the fact that they would have been physically and sexually abused, probably outside in the community before entering the asylum or while they were incarcerated within it.
A cynical view?  Maybe, but a correct one in my estimation.
For more information about this, and some more photographs, go here.

Here's Mr Diamond, and below are some of the women. 

toodle pip

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