If the Museum wins, we will hold a public workshop focusing on the mid-19th century photographs taken bysociety photographer Henry Hering. Hering photographed the faces of scores of Bethlem patients, examining the resulting images in order to detect the patients’ mental health conditions through their facial expressions and features. For more on this renowned collection, see:http://bethlemheritage.wordpress.com/tag/hospital-snapshots/page/2/
Keeping the Hering collection firmly in mind, the Museum plans to work with Rankin to create a new permanent collection of portraits. The project will raise awareness of the extent of mental illness, helping to work away at prejudices by showing that it is not always clear from a person’s appearance that they are unwell.
Dr. Sarah Chaney
UCLCentre for the History of Psychological Disciplines
Vote for the Bethlem Museum to win a day with portrait photographer, Rankin!http://bit.ly/voteBethlem
(voting only open until 28 January so vote NOW and challenge mental health stigma!)
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More information about Bethlem’s Connect 10 project:
If successful in the Connect 10 public vote, the Museum would join with Rankin on a project which has its roots in a series of Victorian images in the Museum’s collection. In the mid-19th century, society photographer Henry Hering photographed the faces of scores of Bethlem patients, examining the resulting images in order to detect the patients’ mental health conditions through their facial expressions and features. The Museum holds a strong and renowned collection of these images, showing patients before and after treatment and illustrating neatly the Victorian need for categorisation of patients.
Keeping the Hering collection firmly in mind, the Museum would work with Rankin to create a new permanent collection of portraits. The project would raise awareness of the extent of mental illness, helping to work away at prejudices by showing that it is not always clear from a person’s appearance that they are unwell.
The Museum plans to run a public workshop, during which participants would learn about the history of Bethlem and its collections and be photographed by Rankin. People would also have the opportunity to learn about the skills involved in portrait photography direct from one of the acknowledged masters of the craft.
While often seen as a celebrity photographer, with H.M. The Queen, Mikhail Gorbachev, David Bowie and Madonna among countless subjects, Rankin has been involved in a number of charitable projects, aimed at confronting preconceptions. His photos for Nike were part of a global campaign raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and his most recent major exhibition portrayed people with terminal illnesses.
Victoria Northwood, Head of Archives & Museum, said “Rankin’s work resonates with us for a number of reasons. As part of a working psychiatric hospital, treating patients as well as educating and reducing the prejudices attached to mental health issues, the Museum shares several values with Rankin’s own awareness-raising projects. As we know now, mental illness cannot always be detected in people’s appearances and our project will aim to emphasise this point. Our historic photography collection is strong and it would be wonderful to be able to revisit the medium with a combination of Rankin’s skill and our contemporary values. The prospect of inviting visitors to see the new collection of photographs when the new Museum opens this autumn is particularly exciting. If you agree, please take a minute to vote for us!”
Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
Tel: 020 3228 4307
Fax: 020 3228 4045
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