Visual Art

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Lena Herzog’s Lost Souls

Lost Souls is a beautiful collection of black-and-white images by photographer Lena Herzog (the wife of Werner Herzog). Radiant, velvety, and both crisp and dreamlike, these photographs depict specimens in the cabinets of wonder and curiosities and early medical museums that were established beginning in the early 18th century. The subjects are mostly infants with genetic defects and abnormalities that prevented them from surviving, either stillbirths or ill-starred newborns. Declared by the Church to be “lost souls” because of their uncertain status as to heaven, hell, or limbo, having existed as both scientific specimens and as objects of mere curiosity and shock value over the ages, Herzog captures them with a sense of wonder and tenderness, focusing on them a kind gaze which translates them into a transcendent and mysterious realm of intense light and shadow.

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