Working with archived portraits of unidentified female asylum patients, Georgette Taylor explores mental illness during the late 1700s in relation to her own experience with depression. During the 1700s doctors photographically documented those of ‘unsound mind’ in order to record the appearance of the ‘insane’, producing an image of what they believed were the physical manifestations of mental illness.
Through manipulating archive material, Taylor explores the emotional impact of mental illness, aiming to do what the patient photography of the 1700s could not; make the symptoms of mental illness visible.
Archive patient portraits reproduced from an original in the Borthwick Institute, University of York. Reference: RET/1/8/6/7/40