Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Diamond's Portraits

Hugh Welch Diamond
Around 1840
Photographic Portraits of the mentally ill

Just why I find these images so compelling I cannot entirely explain. Of course nostalgia comes hand in hand with images of a certain age, but they contain this great sense of truth and innocence. The latter image is extemely familiar, and somewhat inprinted in my memory from a childrens encyclopedia or some such....

Perhaps the state of these subjects is the reason for this; they do not pose, or confront the camera. Or even seem to care how they will come across in the final image. They simply are as you would imagine them to be in life. Their absent mindedness adds pertinence and creates this great stillness and beauty.

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