Dissection Photography

Cadavers, Abjection, and the Formation of Identity

Featuring previously unseen images, stories and anecdotes, this book explores the visual culture of death and the gross anatomy lab through the tradition of dissection photography, examining its historical aspects from both photographic and medical perspectives.

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Contemporary audiences are often shocked to learn that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, medical students around the world posed for photographic portraits with their cadavers; a genre known as dissection photography.

Featuring previously unseen images, stories, and anecdotes, this book explores the visual culture of death within the gross anatomy lab through the tradition of dissection photography, examining its historical aspects from both photographic and medical perspectives.

The author pays particular attention to the use of dissection photographs as an expression of student identity, and as an evolving transgressive ritual intricately connected to, and eventually superseding, the act of dissection itself.

Brandon Zimmerman has worked as an exhibit developer, designer, curator, and consultant for numerous museums, libraries, and archives throughout the United States for almost 20 years. He holds an MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from the University of Rochester.

Author/Editor details at time of book publication.