Max Aguilera-Hellweg

The Sacred Heart: An Atlas of the Body Seen Through Invasive Surgery
by M. D. Richard Selzer
Publisher's Description
Not for the faint of heart, The Sacred Heart is simultaneously one of the most gruesome and inspirational books published this season. A photojournalist for over twenty years, Aguilera-Hellweg recently became fascinated with medicine, creating these painstakingly crafted large-format color images of invasive surgical procedures. After his first images were made he actually enrolled in Columbia University's pre-med program, enabling him to write extended discriptions of the surgical procedures being performed. Review
An accident cost professional photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg the use of his right arm for a year. Forced to work with a tripod and the larger format of 4-by-5-inch film, he was providentially assigned to photograph a neurosurgeon as she worked. This ultimately gave birth to The Sacred Heart, a magnificent and utterly disturbing collection of photographs of the human body seen through invasive surgery.

There is nothing like this collection either in the annals of medical photography or the arts. Almost 50 surgical procedures--a liver transplant, a mastectomy, the harvesting of organs after death, a cesarean birth, and others--cause us to look away and immediately look back. Surgeons' hands hover gracefully over gaping wounds, and lighting on gloves, instruments, and bare flesh is both theatrical and holy.

Aguilera-Hellweg's essay integrates the photographs and historic information about early surgical procedures with his own philosophic musings. The Sacred Heart inspires terror, pity, and awe as our gaze lingers on these horrific images.

ISBN: 0821223771
Publisher: Bulfinch Press
Hardcover : 128 pages
Language: English
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