Ethics and Aesthetics of Epidemiological Photography

14 September 2013


Programme and registration online via the links at the top right hand side of this page

Conference fee: £25 (full); £15 (student) - includes lunch and tea/coffee

Deadline: Wednesday 11 September 2013  



Dr Christos Lynteris (Mellon/Newton Research Fellow, CRASSH)


Despite recent developments in the historical and anthropological study of medical photography, the photographic depiction of epidemics remains a largely unexplored area in the humanities and the social sciences.

This one day conference seeks to bring photographers with experience in covering infectious disease outbreaks together with medical historians, anthropologists and public health experts in order to engage in a dialogue regarding the past, present and future of epidemiological photography.

The conference will examine the following topics:

  • The birth of epidemiological photography at the turn of the 20th century and the changes it brought about in the depiction and public perception of epidemics.
  • The historical development of the genre over the last century and its interaction with other photographic genres (e.g. war photography).
  • Photo-journalism, epidemic crisis and the formation of public opinion.
  • Representing disease and death in postcolonial contexts.
  • New photographic technologies (such as mobile phone cameras), new social media, and grassroots photographic representation of outbreaks.

Keynote speaker: Ari Larissa Heinrich (UC San Diego)


Supported by a Cambridge Humanities Research Grant and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH)




Accommodation for non-paper giving delegates

We are unable to arrange accommodation, however, the following websites may be of help.

Visit Cambridge
Cambridge Rooms
University of Cambridge accommodation webpage

NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of accommodation.


Administrative assistance:


Location : CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, SG1&2

Date : Saturday 14 September 2013

14 September


8.45 - 9.00


9.00 - 9.10

Welcome and Introduction

9.10 - 11.00

 Panel 1: Archival Approaches

  • Dr Jonathan Saha (History, University of Bristol): The Bucolic and the Bubonic: Photographing the Plague in Colonial Burma, 1906
  • Dr Christos Lynteris (CRASSH, University of Cambridge): The Great Manchurian Plague (1910-11) as an International Photographic Battleground
  • Marta Ziętkiewicz-Szlendak (Polish Academy of Fine Arts): Ethical Dilemmas of 19th Century Medical Photography: the Case of Syphilis
  • Dr Lukas Engelmann (Institute and Museum for the History of Medicine, Zurich): Capturing AIDS in Photographs of People with AIDS 

Chair: Patrick O'Hare (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)

11.00 - 11.30 

Coffee Break

11.30 - 13.30 

 Panel 2 Documentary Approaches

  • Dimitrios Bouras (Freelance Photographer, Greece): Accusing The Victims Of Being The Perpetrators
  • Paolo Patruno (Freelance Photographer, Italy): Ethical Concerns in Social Documentary Photography
  • Karren Visser (Kenya Medical Research Institute): Documenting Children with Autism in Africa 
  • Sonya de Laat (McMaster University): Picturing Humanitarian Healthcare: Explore, experiment, and engage in a new online portal

Chair: Christos Lynteris (CRASSH, Cambridge)

13.30 - 14.30 


14.30 - 15.30


  • Professor Ari Heinrich (Literature, UC San Diego): Imitation of Death:  Necromimesis and Photographic Representations of the Chinese Body as Pathology

15.30 - 16.00

Tea Break

16.00 - 17.20

 Panel 3: Anthropological Approaches

  • Dr Ashley Ouvrier (Anthropology, Université Paris Diderot, Paris VII): Photographing Franco-African Medical Research: Traces & Bodies in Niakhar (Senegal)
  • Dr William Tuladhar-Douglas and Bhavana Tuladhar-Douglas (Anthropology, University of Aberdeen) Colour Coded Chickens: Local Knowledge about Bird Flu in Nepal
  • Professor Margaret MacDonald (Anthropology, University of York, Toronto): The Image World of Maternal Mortality  

Chair: Nicholas Evans (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)

17.20 - 17.50



 Dinner at the St John's Chop House for speakers and chairs