After a lot of deliberation and reasearch I finally settled upon the dissertation topic of:

‘The relationship between photography and Stendhal Syndrome’

What is Stendhal Syndrome.

Stendhal syndrome is defined as a ‘Disorder’. People who experience it may have symptoms of  increased heart rate, dizziness, confusion, want fresh air, want for fizzy drinks, among many others.

It occurs when people have been influenced by art or photography and have a heighten emotional connection to the piece.

The first recorded experience of this syndrome was recorded by Henri-Marie Beyle an Author  whose pen name was Stendhal (hens the reason it has been named the Stendhal syndrome). It was described by Stendhal himself as being:


“I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to   the   great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation   of sublime   beauty…I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations …   everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had   palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves.’ Life was drained from   me. I walked with the fear of falling.” 

Henri-Marie Beyle Naples and Florence: A Journey From Milan to Reggio (1817)

Stendhal. (Henri-Marie Beyle) Rome, Naples and Florence, 1817
(Henri-Marie Beyle) Rome, Naples and Florence, 1817

although this above quote was influenced by art and on many of the other occasions it has arisen as being influenced by paintings, although aim to consider the implications of photography and find evidence that photography can also create this kind of emotion amongst its viewers.

In some cases people have said that a photography has given them an ultimate feeling of grief, sadness or happiness. although this has never been documented as being Stendhal syndrome that causes these emotions to arise.

I have contacted some people who may be able to help me in discovering if this is the case or not.