'Inside Outside' Unveils Found Photos of Mental Institution

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Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe spoke widely on psychoanalysis in the early 1900s using lantern slides from the New York State Psychiatric Institute.  Many of those images are on view at the Cleveland Print Room from January 20 - March 18 in the exhibit Inside Outside.  Co-curator Sabine Kretzchmar is fascinated by the found photos, especially these historic lantern slides, which illustrate the history of mental health treatment.

"They are marvelous objects these small, little glass slides with tape and notes and are gorgeous photographic images," she said.

Cleveland Museum of Art curator of photography Barbara Tannenbaum will participate in a panel discussion about the exhibit at the Print Room on Saturday, January 21 at 1 p.m.

She thinks the images in the exhibit are very powerful.

"The images of people are really one-on-one encounters with people.  They're documentation that looks at the outside of somebody to try to explain what's going on in the inside," Tannenbaum said.

They admit there are ethical issues to exhibiting this type of image.

"It's something to be very sensitive about because they were presumably patients, and these would have been documentary photos.  We are taking somewhat of a voyeuristic look at them. Some of the images, while quite haunting, are also quite beautiful," Kretzchmar said.

Tannenbaum feels that time has given these historic images a new identity.

"Of course there was no HIPPA back in those days, and most of those people are probably deceased.  They do have that same kind of Diane Arbus glimpse into something that may be a forbidden world or an unfamiliar world."

Listen to Dan Polletta's conversation with Sabine Kretzchmar & Barbara Tannenbaum on Here and Now featuring The Sound of Applause on Thursday, January 19 at 1:33 p.m.

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