Doctored: The Medicine of Photography in Nineteenth-Century America

Doctored: The Medicine of Photography in Nineteenth-Century America

Pennsylvania State University Press

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In Doctored, Tanya Sheehan takes a new look at the relationship between photography and medicine in American culture from the nineteenth century to the present. Sheehan focuses on Civil War and postbellum Philadelphia, exploring the ways in which medical models and metaphors helped strengthen the professional legitimacy of the city’s commercial photographic community at a time when it was not well established. By reading the trade literature and material practices of portrait photography and medicine in relation to one another, she shows how their interaction defined the space of the urban portrait studio as well as the physical and social effects of studio operations. Integrating the methods of social art history, science studies, and media studies, Doctored reveals important connections between the professionalization of American photographers and the construction of photography’s cultural identity.


Tanya Sheehan is Associate Professor in the Art Department at Colby College.

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