Dr. Alfred Feingold graduated from Dartmouth College and received his MD degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He obtained specialty training in anesthesiology at the University of Chicago Hospitals and obtained a masters degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University. Dr.Feingold taught anesthesiology at the University of Miami School of Medicine before going into private practice. Dr.Feingold retired from the Anesthesiology Departments at Cedars Medical Center and Jackson Memorial Hospital. During the past twelve years he has photographed the doctors and nurses in the operating rooms, creating iconographic images of men and women as they minister their labors of healing with an extraordinary beauty and purpose. The images are sometimes playful and at other times frightening and attempt to portray this duality of emotion that is inseparable from surgical care. The images also communicate the intimacy of this mysterious visual space where magical cures take place every day.
We refer to the operating room as the “operating theatre” for good reason. The surgeon has the leading role and personifies the heroic theme of the story. The nurses and the anesthesiologist play supporting roles. The audience, for whom the performance has been commissioned, lies motionless and without expression under the stupor of anesthesia.
With the audience asleep, the players take turns as protagonist and foil. The play lasts from several minutes to many hours. The form of the play varies from comedy to drama to tragedy. The complex colors and contours of human anatomy appear detached from the cold and aseptic landscape of the room. Bodies are shrouded with sheets and gowns. Lips and nostrils are covered with angular masks. The stage is dim except for the clusters of celestial lights illuminating the palette of vital colors and the learned hands of the surgeon. The visual story of the ongoing drama is told through the focus of the eyes, the twisting of hands, the contortion of bodies, and the reflections from metallic instruments. The surgeon cautiously probes the body’s inner fabric with wonder and admiration.