Portrait of an Artist-Anesthesiologist

n operating room can be many things to different people—a place to fear, a place to heal, or simply a place to work. But for Alfred Feingold, M.D., the operating room is a place of drama, spectacle, and beauty. And so the anesthesiologist became a photographic chronicler of the operating room, transforming many of his pictures into images that echo the work of masters from the past.


Feingold has practiced anesthesiology in South Florida for more than 32 years. He served as assistant professor of anesthesiology at the School of Medicine from 1972 to 1977, and was the first chief of anesthesiology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. He has been a member of the voluntary faculty since 2003. During the past six years, he has photographed doctors and nurses in the operating rooms, in his words, “creating images of men and women as they minister their labors of healing. 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.”

Some of his photos have appeared on the Miller School of Medicine’s revamped Web site as well as in Dartmouth Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School’s magazine. Each week Feingold posts a new image outside the operating rooms and each month he displays two new images outside the anesthesia offices at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The pictures, taken in the natural light of the OR, are then artistically altered by Feingold, each image accompanied by a detailed explanation.

Photography has been a longtime interest for Feingold. He was the photographer for his high school yearbook, and at Dartmouth College he became photo editor of The Dartmouth, the daily student newspaper. But photography became just a hobby to Feingold after he began practicing medicine and raising a family. As he neared retirement, his interest in photography was piqued once again. “As I approached semi-retirement, my daughter suggested that I document the world of surgery that I had worked in for the last 30 years,” Feingold says.

He began by trying to capture the excitement of the OR—and to soften it— so that the work of the doctors and nurses looks beautiful, not threatening. “How do you show others the art of the operating room? It’s a really complex visual space. There’s drama, there’s a very specific palette of colors. You have to be careful. People are very uncomfortable with things colored red,” Feingold says.

Eventually, as Feingold moves out of semi-retirement into full retirement, he would like to publish a book of his unique medical photography. In the meantime, you can view his pictures on his Web site, www.imageofsurgery.com.