Valuable material from the Photo Collection of the Croatian Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts has just received international publicity. Namely, scientists – researchers from the Department of the History of Medical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Stella Fatović-Ferenčić and Martin Kuhar published a paper entitled “We Live in a Wagon Never Going Anywhere:” The Representations of Housing Conditions and Tuberculosis in Zagreb between the Two World Wars, Photography and Culture in the international journal Photography and Culture (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, March 7, 2022).
The collection of Vladimir Ćepulić’s photographs named The Housing Misery in Zagreb, with wagon apartments as one of its main themes, documents the perception of tuberculosis, particularly its epidemiological aspect, between the two world wars. The representation of tuberculosis as a threat is realized in these photographs through the demonstration of dire housing conditions in which parts of Zagreb’s poverty-stricken population resided. Ćepulić’s photographs are discussed in this paper in relation to the history of public health research and its implications for social work. By publishing and exhibiting these photographs, Ćepulić insisted on raising the public consciousness about potential focal points of tuberculosis and its means of spreading. His ultimate goal was to improve the housing conditions, develop the city infrastructure and curb poverty. The new concept of protecting the health through prevention and broader societal changes is underscored in photography as the ever more popular method used in public health campaigns. The preserved collection of photographs is a unique document of this phase of Zagreb’s history and a pioneering effort in social photography.
The full article is available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17514517.2022.2037838