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Plague Image and Imagination from Medieval to Modern TimesReflexive Gaze and Constructed Meanings: Photographs of Plague Hospitals in Colonial Bombay

Plague Image and Imagination from Medieval to Modern Times: Reflexive Gaze and Constructed... [Though the catastrophic plague outbreaks in colonial Bombay in India in the late 1890s were extensively covered by the photographic lens, photographic representations of the disease have received little attention from medical historians. Against this background, by critically analysing a set of representative photographs of plague hospitals, this study demonstrates how the new visual medium of photography captured, and thereby also revealed, social realities at play on the site of the newly emerging hospitals. It further demonstrates that a critical dissection of the composition of photographic frames, the subjects’ positioning, their poses, and camera’s angles reveals unseen but embedded histories of colonial medico-political concerns and agendas. It shows how different visual meanings were constructed, and messages conveyed, through the careful composition of the hospital photographs by the colonial medical administration. In defying the limits of being a mere captor of sights, photography offers us histories of plague pandemonium that are beyond the visuality of captured sights.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

Plague Image and Imagination from Medieval to Modern TimesReflexive Gaze and Constructed Meanings: Photographs of Plague Hospitals in Colonial Bombay

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021
ISBN
978-3-030-72303-3
Pages
141 –189
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-72304-0_6
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[Though the catastrophic plague outbreaks in colonial Bombay in India in the late 1890s were extensively covered by the photographic lens, photographic representations of the disease have received little attention from medical historians. Against this background, by critically analysing a set of representative photographs of plague hospitals, this study demonstrates how the new visual medium of photography captured, and thereby also revealed, social realities at play on the site of the newly emerging hospitals. It further demonstrates that a critical dissection of the composition of photographic frames, the subjects’ positioning, their poses, and camera’s angles reveals unseen but embedded histories of colonial medico-political concerns and agendas. It shows how different visual meanings were constructed, and messages conveyed, through the careful composition of the hospital photographs by the colonial medical administration. In defying the limits of being a mere captor of sights, photography offers us histories of plague pandemonium that are beyond the visuality of captured sights.]

Published: Jul 30, 2021

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