With a perspective shaped by recent work in art history and the sociology of knowledge, the authors encourage the reader to analyze photographs as complicated historical documents. They argue that, while photographs may appear to be literal depictions of reality, they actually pose profound problems of historical interpretation. The authors take as their subject matter the representation of medicine in photographs taken in Britain and the United States from 1840 through the present day. They have studied thousands of photographs, more than 250 of which are reprinted in this volume, in conjunction with other primary sources and historical accounts. The text explores the representations of medicine made by photographers and their employers, and the ways that audiences through the years have interpreted their messages.