The Wall Street Journal Reviews Burns Archive Exhibit:

Dr. R.B. Bontecou's photo of Pvt. Robert Fryer

Shadows and Light Somewhere in Time
Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2011
by William Meyers
Their faces are as telling as the wounds they suffered. Unlike Mathew Brady, who was a commercial photographer, Reed B. Bontecou was an army doctor: He took photographs of wounded Civil War soldiers in the first systematic attempt to study combat injuries and the procedures used to treat them. 
"Robert Fryer, private, Co. G, 52d N.Y. Vols., aged 18" stares at us from an oval frame. His kepi is on his head, and against his uniform jacket with its long row of brass buttons he holds his right hand: Only his thumb and forefinger are left. His look expresses neither pain nor self-pity, but his troubled attempt to understand his experience. 
There are two pictures of "David R. Templeton, Private Company A, 46 N.Y Vols., age 16, …. with gunshot wound of the head." 
The first must have been taken soon after he lost his eye, since the left side of his face is covered with blood and he seems to be suffering.
In the second photo, he has been cleaned up and dressed, his hair combed, but his one open eye expresses the same dazed puzzlement as Pvt. Fryer. 
Other soldiers have other parts of their bodies violated or missing. Dr. Bontecou's brief descriptions of where and how each patient was injured, the treatment he received and the outcome—"parts healed kindly," "gradually sank and died"—are posted in notebooks attached to the display cases. 
Excerpts from Walt Whitman's "Specimen Days" describing his experiences working as a nurse in Union military hospitals provide context. The photographs come from the extraordinary collection of Stanley Burns, a New York physician.

Civil War Exhibit Extended Until August 29

Photographs of Dr. R. B. Bontecou, Words of Walt Whitman. 
Merchant's House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street, NY, NY

From Broadway World.com
Thanks to an overwhelming response from visitors, the Merchant's House Museum, in partnership with The Burns Archive, will extend the exhibition of photographs of wounded New York soldiers by army surgeon and native New Yorker Dr. Reed B. Bontecou that opened in April to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. More-than 100 images of human ruination are captioned with quotations from Walt Whitman's 1882 memoir, Specimen Days, in which he recounts his own horrifying experience as a volunteer nurse. According to Whitman, "The real war will never get in the books."
William Stewart, 3 NY Independent Battery.
 Aged 20 years, wounded at Petersburg, March 25, 1865.
Gun shot wound of humerus, resection of head of right humerus
A View of One of the Displays of Bontecou's Photographs
on Exhibit at the Merchant's House Museum.


Psychiatric Images in The Ward (film), Village Voice Mention

We are pleased to announce that John Carpenter's The Ward opens today.The opening credits of the film feature several Burns Archive Images. Other films that feature Burns Archive images are The Haunting in Connecticut, The Others and Jacob's Ladder (+ many more).

The Village Voice mentions the images in the opening credits as one of the highlights of the film:

Ensemble Therapy: John Carpenter Returns With The Ward (Village Voice)
By Nick Pinkerton Wednesday, Jul 6, 2011

"...The Ward keeps its claws in a viewer, though it never wholly attains the promise of its opening credits. Beautiful and atmospheric representatives of a lost art, the credits themselves show images of madness, including woodcuts and antique lobotomy photos, on shattering panes of glass whose shards float across the screen in slow motion."

Other Psychiatric Images From The Burns Archive Can Be Found In Burns Press Titles: Patients and Promise: A Photographic History of Mental & Mood Disorders and

Seeing Insanity: Photography & The Depiction of Mental Illness

Also check out our past blog about Psychiatric Hospital Restraints HERE