Seeing Insanity was produced to accompany our exhibition of extraordinary photographs of female mental patients from Uruguay’s Manicomio Nacional: Departamento de Mujeres (National Madhouse). It is also volume three of our four-volume photographic history on mental and mood disorders, Patients & Promise.
In this text are the works of pioneer psychiatric photographer Mathew Brady, and neuropsychiatrists Hugh Welch Diamond, Dietrich Georg Keiser, James Crichton-Browne, and Duchenne de Boulogne. Some of the earliest psychiatric publications with patient photographs are shown with images from The Mind Unveiled, as well as the publications of neuropsychiatrists Theodor Ziehen, Emil Kraepelin, Thomas Stretch Dowse, and others.
The photographs of Uruguayan women, the main focus of this volume, offer the modern reader insight into the physiognomy of psychotic patients, and provide visual evidence as to why the photograph was such an article of faith and evidence for nineteenth century practitioners. Admission and discharge photographs further our appreciation of the efforts of our predecessors to help and heal their patients, and provide graphic evidence of the accomplishments of these practitioners.