Date of this Version
History of Photography
This article explores the photographic physiognomy of Victorian asylum superintendent Hugh Welch Diamond. Through close readings of Diamond’s photographs as well as commentary published by Diamond and Dr John Conolly, the author argues that Diamond expanded the meaning of the word physiognomy to include metonymic traits such as clothing and hairstyle. Diamond used physiognomy for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, and he staged his photographs to maximize their efficacy for both, creating a mediated mirror through which his patients viewed themselves. Through photographic physiognomy, Diamond tried to change the nature of asylum practice, using images of his patients to nurture them to health without physical restraints.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in History of Photography on 29 Jun 2009, available online: [http://wwww.tandfonline.com/ ] http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03087290902752978.
Johan Caspar Lavater (1741–1801), HughWelch Diamond (1809–1886), John Conolly (1794–1866), Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–1893), physiognomy, photography, non-restraint, asylums, Victorian England
Pearl, S. (2009). Through a Mediated Mirror: The Photographic Physiognomy of Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond. History of Photography, 33 (3), 288-305. https://doi.org/10.1080/03087290902752978
Date Posted: 27 March 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.