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Photographic Immortality
April 26, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) posted by zarq (15 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apologies. The "Via" link is borked. It should direct here.
posted by zarq at 9:36 AM on April 26, 2011


*puts fingers together* Excellent
posted by wheelieman at 9:57 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter.

"Like my loafers? Former gophers. / It was that or skin my chauffeurs."
posted by The Bellman at 9:57 AM on April 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


The official site hasn't been updated since 1998 for some reason. But I guess that explains its extreme obnoxiousness (huge, obtrusive watermarks AND a copyright notice on every image?).
posted by Gator at 10:01 AM on April 26, 2011


Found this link on the official site after I posted: Death in America (warning, flash) is a documentary from 1997 which was co-produced by Burns. Background.
posted by zarq at 10:10 AM on April 26, 2011


These really were more formal times. Even the electric chair had a dress code.
posted by dr_dank at 10:30 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boooooooooo(urns)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:33 AM on April 26, 2011


1. Look at photos of atrocities.
2. Apply eyebleach.
3. Search for an ophthalmologist with experience in treating victims of eyebleach.

Cunning.
posted by ardgedee at 11:11 AM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the website.. Is it an advertisement for something?
posted by eas98 at 11:26 AM on April 26, 2011


Gator: " But I guess that explains its extreme obnoxiousness (huge, obtrusive watermarks AND a copyright notice on every image?)."

The watermarks and copyright notices are probably there because the site offers images from the collection as stock photos to advertisers and production companies. Check the "client" tab.
posted by zarq at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2011


When I was at that age where I was trying to find pictures of naked people (this was long before the internet), the only ones I could find were in my father's medical library. I'm glad my sexuality is apparently hard-wired in vanilla directions, otherwise those photos could have turned me into a real mess.
posted by kozad at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This will slake my appetites in between trips to the Mütter Museum. Always reminds me of Ghostbusters - "He performed a lot of... unnecessary surgeries."
posted by FatherDagon at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2011


The National Museum of Health and Medicine (formerly of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, now moving to Silver Spring, MD) has an unofficial Flickr account for its public domain images. They've got lots of horrifying/fascinating stuff. The museum is well worth a visit.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:44 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


These are all fascinating historical documents, but some of them are really hard for me to look at. I had to stop after the proud lawmaker leaning on the tree from which two men were dangling. I think I might go try to look at more. But I might need half an hour of kitten pictures first.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:59 PM on April 26, 2011


Excellent.
posted by Fizz at 2:47 AM on April 27, 2011


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