visual medical humanities

Becoming an Image

Being a patient today increasingly means being an image. Liz Orton’s new artist’s book, Every Body is an Archive, takes the medical image as a site of critical enquiry to explore questions of ownership, language and power within the clinical encounter. Polyphony editor Fiona Johnstone met with Liz Orton to talk about the book, the centrality of image-making to medical practice, and how right now is a radical moment for the clinical gaze.


Liz Atkin is a visual artist, educator, and mental health advocate. Her work, which has recently been acquired by Wellcome Collection, explores the lived experience of compulsive skin-picking, a body-focused repetitive behaviour disorder. Fiona Johnstone, visual culture editor at The Polyphony, visited Atkin in her studio in south London.