Hysteria - a psychological disorder whose symptoms include conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms, selective amnesia, shallow volatile emotions, and overdramatic or attention-seeking behavior.
In the late 19th century Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot used the new technology of photography to document his patients “riddled” with hysteria. Though hysteria is no longer seen as a psychiatric disorder, the symptoms housed under this catch-all illness are still apparent and documented in our current society. In thinking of the documentation of hysteria through photography, I found that hysteria is being captured in the tabloid photographs of disgraced celebrities or in the anorexic fashion models in glossy magazines. Depression, manic behavior, anorexia, and an unwillingness to marry are just some of the many symptoms of hysteria, which are frequently displayed in mass media targeted towards women. Through collage, I am combining the hysteria of Charcot’s time to modern “displays” of hysteria and show a connection to the past and the present. By mashing the images of modern women and celebrity with the hysterics kept in Charcot’s asylum, I am attempting to better understand this disease in which millions of women were diagnosed with and where I fall in it.