Monthly Archives: February 2023

Upside Down

Laurie says:

The Upside Down exhibition is in the PH21 Gallery in Budapest. It opens on March 7th and I’ll write about it then. But it was also a revelatory experience and I’m writing about that now.

One of the images that I submitted for this exhibition was from my Pandemic Shadows project and it was permanently changed because the reverse image was a better composition.

The two images are below. Please click on them for the best quality image.

This is the original Pandemic Shadows #36 – shadows on a mailbox



And this is the “upside down” version, which is to me, more beautiful.


I was amazed at how much I was even more delighted with the composition. In part because I was very satisfied with the original.

While photographs are valued for their depictive potential and representative content, the non-depictive, non-representational aspects of photographic works are also strongly related to their aesthetic significance. In this spirit, art photography has always aimed for the unity of form and content. Abstract photography has gone even further, celebrating abstract compositions for their own sake, without the need for appreciating or even recognising depictive content in the images. Turning a photograph upside down tends to strip it from its representative function, because the depicted scene and objects are difficult if not impossible to recognise when the image is turned to its side or upside down. However, the formal, compositional aspects of photographs become more pronounced that way, as our attention is steered away from scene and object recognition. In our Upside down exhibition, we would like to show photographs that are indeed turned upside down. Any photograph is eligible if the artist is willing to show it in this unusual way. Abstract photographs might be considered to be the most suitable candidates for this experimental exhibiting method, but there are many depictive works as well whose compositional qualities might also be appreciated in novel ways when turning them upside down, thus liberating us from studying and concentrating on their representational content. Landscapes, bodyscapes, symmetrical compositions, or even architectural and street photography may be good candidates for turning images upside down, but images in other photographic genres may also be considered for this exhibition.

PH21 Zsolt Bátori


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Doctors … and the State.. Getting Up in Our Business

Debbie says:

No sooner did we put up Sunday’s blog post about “virgins” being refused transvaginal ultrasounds for unscientific reasons than I came across two other related stories about inappropriate medical decision-making. Since the stories are clearly related, Laurie and I thought we’d share the other two.

Colorado is one of a handful of states with robust abortion coverage statewide, but that isn’t keeping at least two of its Catholic hospitals from taking other measures to control women’s reproductive capacities. Jennifer Brown, writing for the Colorado Sun has the story of Mercy Hospital, part of a hospital chain operated by Centura, which will now only permit a woman to get her tubes tied during a C-section if she has cancer.

“This is a very small number of women, and what an arbitrary exception,” [Dr. ] Kimberly Priebe said.

“What about women with hypertension, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, uterine abnormalities, and the many other risk factors that can make pregnancy deadly? It seems the Catholic church does not want a woman dying of cancer but during pregnancy is OK?”

Priebe is an OB-GYN in Durango, a small city where Mercy is the only hospital, so there are few alternatives for women who want their tubes tied during C-section surgery–a quick, easy and inexpensive alternative to a separate surgery.

Side note:  I once worked with a woman who was pregnant with twins. When she told her doctor she wanted her tubes tied, he tried to bully her with “What if one of them doesn’t survive?” She fiercely answered “Tie those tubes even if they’re both dead!” I’ve never forgotten her.

At any rate, this is a completely blatant attempt by a Catholic hospital chain to take over what should be a woman’s choice, and it has the absolute opposite of medical justification. Medically, we have Dr. Priebe’s partial list of other reasons above. And, as Brown notes, St. Anthony Summit Hospital, also in the Centura chain, and the only hospital in all of Summit County, is taking the same position.


In Florida, where books are too dangerous for school classrooms, apparently high-school girls’ menstrual periods are about to be fodder for school records. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advocated for female athletes to discuss their menstrual periods with their pediatricians, because period abnormalities could be a sign of “low energy availability, pregnancy, or other gynecologic or medical conditions.” These discussions are, as the form above shows, optional. But Florida is threatening to make the mandatory, and have the records be kept at the school, not the doctor’s office.

Christopher O’Donnell, writing for the Tampa Bay <I>Times</i> points out that the proposed change:

has raised concerns about invasion of students’ privacy. It’s also raised questions about whether the information could be used in cases against women and girls charged with violating Florida’s new 15-week abortion law. Social media buzz has also suggested the move is intended to prevent transgender students from participating in high school sports. Florida passed a law in 2021 banning transgender female students from competing in women’s and girls’ sports.

So when medical information is legitimately useful (but not required), the state can make it required — and deeply threatening, not just to pregnant students and trans students, but to anyone who has a reason to keep their menstrual history from their school principal.

Put together with the transvaginal ultrasound story linked above, we begin to see a pattern in this week’s news, reflecting the long history of the medical establishment and the government wielding their power to control women’s bodies. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, the MAGA Republicans’ violent and dangerous transphobia, and the anti-LGBT hysteria sweeping the country, these trends bear not only watching, but concerted resistance.


Debbie is no longer active on Twitter. Watch this space to follow her on Mastodon.

Follow Laurie’s Pandemic Shadows photos on Instagram.