The panel invites papers on the relation between photography, medicine and anthropology focusing on anthropological perspectives of medical photography and on photographic practices employed in the field by medical anthropologists.
The panel invites papers discussing the relation between anthropology, photography and medicine, focused on the anthropological analysis of medical photography and the employment of photography as an ethnographic method by medical anthropologists. The panel will explore anthropological approaches of medical photography, from its colonial-medical roots to its relation to new techniques of imaging in the lab and the clinic today. Questions raised include the following: to what extent were colonial medical photography and anthropological photography part of the same visual paradigm? In which ways has the photographic lens been employed in conjunction with the microscope lens in constituting infectious diseases and epidemics as social facts? How does anthropology approach the production, circulation and consumption of medical photography in cyberspace in the age of social media? At the same time, the panel will examine how medical anthropologists who use photography in their fieldwork relate to ethical and aesthetic challenges pertinent to this ethnographic practice. Are there ethnomethodological questions particular to medical anthropological photography? Do subjects examined by medical anthropologists, from clinical practice to non-biomedical healing to social responses to epidemics, pose identical ethical and aesthetic challenges when it comes to photographic representation? How can medical anthropological photography overcome biomedical imaging conventions and engage with its subject in an ethnographically meaningful way? Finally, what is the relation between the anthropological critique of medical photography and medical anthropological photography? The panel seeks to bring the two fields in a fertile and inter-reflexive dialogue that will foster analytical and methodological tools for medical anthropology.