Today Kim is bringing you a video review of the coffee table book Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals with photography by Christopher J.Payne and an essay by Oliver Sacks.
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Photographer: Christopher J. Payne
Published: September 4, 2009
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
For more than half the nation’s history, vast mental hospitals were a prominent feature of the American landscape. From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, over 250 institutions for the insane were built throughout the United States; by 1948, they housed more than a half million patients.
The blueprint for these hospitals was set by Pennsylvania hospital superintendent Thomas Story Kirkbride: a central administration building flanked symmetrically by pavilions and surrounded by lavish grounds with pastoral vistas.
Kirkbride and others believed that well-designed buildings and grounds, a peaceful environment, a regimen of fresh air, and places for work, exercise, and cultural activities would heal mental illness. But in the second half of the twentieth century, after the introduction of psychotropic drugs and policy shifts toward community-based care, patient populations declined dramatically, leaving many of these beautiful, massive buildings–and the patients who lived in them–neglected and abandoned.
Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent six years documenting the decay of state mental hospitals like these, visiting seventy institutions in thirty states. Through his lens we see splendid, palatial exteriors (some designed by such prominent architects as H. H. Richardson and Samuel Sloan) and crumbling interiors–chairs stacked against walls with peeling paint in a grand hallway; brightly colored toothbrushes still hanging on a rack; stacks of suitcases, never packed for the trip home.
Accompanying Payne’s striking and powerful photographs is an essay by Oliver Sacks (who described his own experience working at a state mental hospital in his book Awakenings). Sacks pays tribute to Payne’s photographs and to the lives once lived in these places, “where one could be both mad and safe.”
Kim’s Video Review:
Plus+: Style Inspiration for Everyone
Editor: Bethany Rutter
To Be Published: February 5, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: January 21, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Be inspired by 100 of the very best plus-size street style images from fashion influencers and tastemakers from around the world.
Plus-size fashion is daring, experimental, and deeply personal. There’s no longer any shame in not fitting the traditional ideals of beauty, as proven by Gabi Gregg, Tess Holliday, Beth Ditto, and thousands of bloggers and models around the world.
The online plus-size fashion community is loud, international, and confident. Millions of #ootd photos are shared every day, showing off amazing style and beautiful people. Plus+ gathers together the very best, and celebrates all shapes, sizes, and aesthetics—a beautiful, sharply designed, glossy collection to inspire everyone, plus-size or otherwise.
Plus+ is a collection of plus size models showing their sense of style and confidence in photos and share their own words. You can see the confidence flowing through them and it makes me wish I had more for myself! They wear what they want because they can and who cares what anyone else thinks! The models are a variety of plus size, are different races, and there is even a Muslim woman expressing herself in fashion!
Most of the fashion choices were not ‘for me’ and would not be something I would wear, but that is not what this book is about. The title says it all and it did reach its purpose: Plus+: Style Inspiration for Everyone. Wear what you want because YOU want to whether it be colors or black, short skirts or long skirts, shorts or pants, etc! Be comfortable in your skin, as it is who you are.
Special thanks to the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing for granting me an e-arc copy via NetGalley![Top]