At one point in time, the realms of science and art operated seamlessly to educate youth rising in the medical sciences. Fine art photographer Andrea Baldeck has revived this once prominent fixture of education in her book Bones, Books and Bell Jars: Photographs of the Mütter Museum Collection. Through November14, the Palmer Gallery at Vassar College will display the 19th-century preserved medical specimens and surgical instruments documented in the book.
Baldeck was recently offered the opportunity to explore the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia collection of 19th-century medical artifacts, excavating the reservoir of preserved specimens, anatomical models, surgical equipment, and illustrated textbooks. Her book compiles 106 images that highlight the interdependence of art and science and showcases the ghosts of medicines past.
A graduate of Vassar College, Baldeck began her career as a doctor, later leaving her job has an internist and anesthesiologist to live a life bound to exploration, discovery, and a darkroom. Her body of work continues the ever-fleeting gelatin silver print, encompassing portraits, still lifes, and landscapes all in black and white. Since the seed of her photographic occupation was planted in the `90s, Baldeck has produced an immense body of work, including her many published books: Haiti (1996, second edition 2006), Talismanic (1998), Venice, A Personal View (1999), Touching the Mekong (2003), Closely Observed (2006), Presence Passing (2007), Himalaya: Land of the Snow Lion (2009), and Bones, Books and Bell Jars (2012).
Palmer Gallery at Vassar College will host “Bones, Books and Bell Jars: Photographs of the Mütter Museum Collection” through November 14. (845) 437-5370; Palmergallery.vassar.edu. Portfolio: Andreabaldeck.com.