Reginald Southey with human and monkey skeleton
Albumen photograph by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (nom de plume Lewis Caroll, author of Alice in Wonderland), 1857.
Reginald Southey was an English physician who invented a specialized cannula (tube) for draining the excess fluid from limbs suffering from edema (dropsy). He also apparently served on England’s “Lunacy Commission” so…there’s that. Southey was lifelong friends with Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and was the one who encouraged him to take up photography.
The pensive expression on Southey’s face betrays the fact that he’s standing with his arm around a skeleton rather than a live human. The composition of the photograph and the portrayal of the abnormal as mundane strikes me as incredibly reminiscent of the worlds Dodgson created in his writings.

Reginald Southey with human and monkey skeleton

Albumen photograph by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (nom de plume Lewis Caroll, author of Alice in Wonderland), 1857.

Reginald Southey was an English physician who invented a specialized cannula (tube) for draining the excess fluid from limbs suffering from edema (dropsy). He also apparently served on England’s “Lunacy Commission” so…there’s that. Southey was lifelong friends with Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and was the one who encouraged him to take up photography.

The pensive expression on Southey’s face betrays the fact that he’s standing with his arm around a skeleton rather than a live human. The composition of the photograph and the portrayal of the abnormal as mundane strikes me as incredibly reminiscent of the worlds Dodgson created in his writings.

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