Aesthetics of Human Disease

The subject of the aesthetics of medicine has been for long on my mind.

Here is a book to add on the list to have and it’s website to follow:

“Hidden Beauty: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science” by Norman Barker and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue

About the project:

“This collaborative project by a scientist and artist asks the reader to consider the aesthetics of human disease, both within and beyond the context of our preconceived social systems. Disease is a dynamically powerful force of nature that acts without regard to race, religion or culture. These forces create visually stunning patterns with a remarkable ability to evoke human emotion in isolation that differs when viewed in the context of the disease that produced the image. We see beauty in the delicate lacework of fungal hy¬¨phae invading a blood vessel, the structure of the normal cerebellum, and the desperate drive of metastasizing cancer cells. However, the appreciation of the imagery produced by disease is bittersweet; we simultaneously experience the beauty of the natural world and the pain of those living with these disease processes. Ultimately, this series of images will leave the viewer with an appreciation of visual beauty inherent within the medical sciences.”

Despite looking more like a celebration of modern medical diagnostics techniques and microscopical photography, this book is one of the first to look into the subject of Aesthetics of Medicine. In her interview to the BBC News magazine (click here to watch)¬†Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue speaks about finding these medical images compelling and beautiful. The authors do not discuss the criteria for “the beauty” in this case, just as they do not go into a critical discussion of such phenomenon. These subjects are yet to look into..

Nevertheless an art review website also writes here about how this collection of images satisfies human curiosity of looking under our own skin.

Have a look at the gallery of aesthetic disease photography, and stay tuned for further critical analysis of medicine aesthetics phenomenon.


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