THE HISTORY OF MODERN MEDICAL SCIENCE Part 2
#thehistoryofmodernmedicalscience #wellcometrust #wales #seewhatisee #stfagans
( scroll down to read ) This week’s instalment of the project for The History of Modern Medicine is much more of a visual essay showing a bit more of my process and how a story can inspire an image... I’d made a plan to go on a field trip to Wales as I had read in “Witnesses to Modern Biomedicine” by Tilli Tansey that there had been lots of population based research in South Wales led by Archie Cochrane, the renowned epidemiologist. I was also fascinated by the visual similarities between the capillaries in lungs and leafless trees, wattle and rib cages and the open doors of the ironworker’s houses at St Fagan’s. I thought they had echoes of lungs too; being at the centre of the buildings, like they are in the body, and like the lungs, letting in essential air. They also echoed of the old days of fieldworkers being able to knock on an open door and have a chat with locals which enabled them to discover some incredibly useful information.
( scroll down to read ) I had decided that I wanted to concentrate on 2 particular elements which were the research into Environmental Lead and early X-rays given to Welsh miners with potential occupational lung disease. I took some copies of x-rays of lungs with lesions with me so that I could see how they appeared in the environment and also in the buildings. Somehow the fact that respiratory problems had crept up on, and grown, almost silently, with a community working for years in the mining industry felt very melancholy but a part I felt important to include.
Here you'll find my images which have been inspired by some of the medical history stories which you can read on my blog www.5ftinf.com...
I wanted to be able to capture a sense of going back in time as research had started in 1960 and the essence of Fieldwork seems to have had to change considerably over the last 50 years. My starting point was #StFagans near Cardiff; an open air museum which chronicles the historical lifestyle, culture and architecture of the Welsh people.
( scroll down to read ) from Professor Owen Wade: Population-based Research One of the interesting differences between the survey work I did in south Wales, and my later work in Belfast was the names. I don’t think we realised how difficult it was going to be when surveying miners in south Wales where so many men had names like Jenkins, Jones, Thomas, or Williams. Archie Cochrane solved this by ensuring that every man X-rayed was also photographed holding a board with his X-ray number and his name. When the unit returned four or five years later to re-X-ray that pit, it was possible to identify and radiograph the right Mr Jones. Of course, the miners all know each other by Jones ‘longtuff ’ or Jones ‘big nose’ or some phrase of that sort, but that wasn’t very useful to the survey team.
One of the brilliant things about looking back into medical history is seeing how so much has been achieved in a relatively short space of time...the transition from a basic way of living, with no medical research and little help, to detailed investigation and a subsequent knowledge of environmental illnesses, and then offering practical solutions or choices, is really incredible.
Whilst on my field trip I stayed at the most amazing traditional Welsh cottage, Ty Unnos, near Carmarthen which felt very inspirational and just the right place to create more images ( click on the hashtag to see more of #tyunnos )
Lead piping into copper piping...
( scroll down to read ) Another branch of population based research which was carried out in Wales helped define problems occurring from Environmental Lead and this also really interested me. I liked the idea of an image where copper pipes could be visible within nature; to show the beauty of a simple copper pipe which works to protect us and keep our water clean which is why I included lichen in the images which naturally only thrives in clean air
I had also been struck by the description of how beautiful the early x-rays had been so I wanted to embrace some more abstract images, making patterns from the x-ray; making them beautiful again.
Next Week + More Info...
Next week I’ll be looking at the importance of hobbies, vocational passions...and laziness! You can also find out more about The Modern Biomedicine Research Group funded by The Wellcome Trust, on their website here , their Facebook page here , their YouTube Channel here and their Twitter account here.
More at www.5ftinf.com &