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A drop in the ocean: Daniel Regan

‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed. This blog series intends to showcase as many different voices and perspectives from people with lived experience of mental ill health and explore their ideas of personal asylum.

This post is from Daniel Regan, a photographer who showed work in Bethlem Gallery’s ‘Reclaiming Asylum’ exhibition late last year.

I began feeling that something wasn’t quite right in my early teens. Looking back on it now I remember thinking that my thoughts seemed jumbled, tangled and different from my peers. My emotional experiences were felt so deeply; my responses were not the same as those around me at that age. As I got further into my teens, I withdrew into myself and began to self-harm. I could never quite figure out how to make sense of the chaos in my mind, but then I discovered photography, which helped me begin to express the brief moments of clarity. Continue reading

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London Drawing in the Reading Room

Earlier this year, art collective London Drawing took over an area of our Reading Room to engage visitors and inspire them to get creative. The stand out activity was their Renaissance Selfies, relating to the theme of ‘face’. The co-director of the collective, Anne Noble-Partridge, tells us more about this fun, simple and effective photo opportunity.

As an artist I have always been interested in the way the frame of a photograph can remove an image from its true surroundings; the way you can play with reality through the ‘reality’ of the camera lens is fascinating.

It all started while I was on holiday in Italy, having overdosed on Italian Renaissance paintings. I whiled away a wet evening messing about taking self portrait photographs in the Renaissance style using what I had around me: an embroidered bedspread, sun visor and pillowcase. I really enjoyed the process and got quite engrossed in it. Continue reading

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Instagram takeover

Next week Wellcome Images are taking over our Instagram account to showcase a selection of this year’s winning images. As if one visual feast isn’t enough, we’ll be taking over the 52museums account at the same time. Hannah Brown and Russell Dornan tell us more.

Wellcome Images

The Wellcome Image Awards explore science and medicine through a combination of traditional artistic media and cutting-edge scientific imaging techniques. The 15th Wellcome Image Awards will be presented on 15 March 2016.

“The power of a visual image to communicate a message is incredible.”

Dr Alice Roberts, Wellcome Image Awards Judge

Next week Wellcome Images will be taking over Wellcome Collection’s Instagram account. We will be posting two of this year’s winning images each day from 7-11 March. Follow #2016WIA while we bring you the stories behind a selection of 2016’s winning images.

From hand-drawn illustrations to super-resolution microscopy, these award winning images bring to life a world of science often hidden to the naked eye. Continue reading

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How often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?

Wellcome Collection explores what it means to be human through medicine, art and science. So when our Web Editor, Russell Dornan, saw someone doing the same in the form of a photography piece last year, he wanted to translate that in some way online. After meeting with the artist, Yuxin Jiang, they collaborated on this blog post in attempt to do just that.

Russell

In September 2015 I went along to the University of Westminster’s degree show of its MA in Photographic Studies course to see my friend’s work featured in it. The exhibition, The Pensive Image, was hosted in the Ambika P3 gallery in London and included students from all over the world. One of the pieces that really grabbed my attention was the work by Yuxin: I found it compelling and layered; immediately visually interesting, but something that took a few minutes of exploring to begin to understand.

I saw the strong affinity Yuxin’s work had with Wellcome Collection and wondered if there was some way to explore it online. After making contact and meeting up, we discussed how to showcase the piece in a blog post. A blog post, of course, is a linear medium without the ability to show nuanced relationships between individual images. The challenge was for me to present it in a way that ensured Yuxin still felt confident about the message and the integrity of her work, while respecting the differences between an online experience and a physical one. Continue reading

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Creating the creative: Tibet’s Secret Temple

You may have seen the campaign for our recently opened Tibet’s Secret Temple exhibition: lush foliage and dramatic clouds, all cut out of paper and set against a crisp teal colour. If you’ve ever wondered how the identity of an exhibition comes together, Jo Finn explains with a bit of help from the creative talent behind it.

The brief

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Instead of simply selecting a ‘hero object’ to showcase the exhibition, the creative brief for Tibet’s Secret Temple asked designers Malcolm Chivers and Liam Relph to reflect on the themes of journeying and secret, as well as the sky which is continuously referenced in Tibetan Buddhism, and clouds, often used to symbolise the breath, a key element of yoga.

The design process led to the commission of artist/illustrator Petra Börner and the construction of an innovative structure made by photographer Ben Gilbert in order to shoot the final artwork. Here the creative team share their roles in the process.

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Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken and Tyler, 1985. Courtesy of the Guggenheim Museum, NY and the artist.

Contemplating the Contemporary: Photography

Contemporary art is all around us, but we often still ask: “Is it art?” In this blog series exploring how and why we make art, Guillaume Vandame looks at photography in our Medicine Now gallery and beyond for Contemplating the Contemporary.

Our Medicine Now gallery features a diverse range of photography, ranging from documentary photography to more conceptual photographic projects. From full-colour to black-and-white, abstraction and figuration, the selection of photographs highlight some of the trends in contemporary photography today. In addition, one of the unique characteristics defining the photographs in the gallery is the fact that many of these projects come from collaborations between artists and medical practitioners. Continue reading

Composite image of Wellcome Collection taken by the London Transport Museum

#MuseumInstaSwap: Through a different lens

At the end of August we teamed up with nine other London museums to swap our collections and themes on Instagram for #MuseumInstaSwapRussell Dornan writes about the project’s inception, how it went and what it was like photographing one museum through the lens of another.

You can see all the photos posted by the ten museums here.

I had the idea for #MuseumInstaSwap after Londonist listed their ten best London museums on Instagram. Seeing museums with such a wide range of collections, subjects and sizes represented made me think we should try some kind of cultural exchange: an exciting way to collaborate and share our content in a new way, especially on a platform as dynamic and engaging as Instagram.

I suggested the idea of pairing up with each other and sharing each other’s content to the other nine museums on the list and everyone was up for it. We met and discussed the finer details of how it would work.

The idea of #MuseumInstaSwap was to show our audiences a different museum’s material and vice versa. It was a way for our combined audiences to discover new museums, or see their favourites through a different lens. Continue reading