Finnish photographer Maija Tammi‘s series “Removals” visualizes illnesses represented by the removal of objects and entities the body contains. In order to execute this concept, Tammi first contacted a hospital in Finland to see if she could photograph specimens removed from bodies post-surgery. After jumping through a few bureaucratic hoops, Tammi was granted permission, but with restrictions: she’d have to wait around until she was called into an operating room where she’d usually have only a few moments to capture each object before they were taken to the lab for analysis. The only lighting used in her photography are the lights present in the operating room, and Tammi didn’t have to worry about patient permission because the object or body part becomes the property of the hospital once it’s removed.
Though using these specimens as subjects of her photography seems like a rather morbid experience, Tammi claims nothing can disgust her if she has a camera separating her from her subject. Influenced by her studies of art photography and theories of the abject, of her photos, Tammi says, “People find them really visually pleasing when they don’t know what’s in the photo. They sometimes change their mind when they find out.”