RIT Professor Shares Elegance of Bedpans through Photo Exhibition in Buffalo

Bill DuBois’ photographs on display at Nina Freudenheim Gallery

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Bill DuBois

One of the bedpan photographs that is part of a new exhibit in Buffalo.

Bill DuBois, photography professor and chair of visual media in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, is an avid collector of bedpans. He bought his first one in 1978 for 50 cents. He used it for a planter, hanging it in a reception area near his office, only to have it stolen several weeks later.

Drawn to their unique shapes and sizes, the longtime photographer has acquired bedpans from all over the world and is sharing his collection through his photography. DuBois’ images are currently on exhibit at Nina Freudenheim Gallery, 140 North St., Buffalo. The gallery is located in the historic Lenox Hotel. The exhibit runs through April 14 and is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and by appointment on Saturday and Monday.

DuBois has collected about 65 bedpans of varying sizes, both male and female urinals, made of different materials.

“The materials used in their fabrication, such as metal, enamel, glass and ceramic, also proved visually and tactilely captivating to me,” says DuBois. “With each purchase, I was acquiring a little piece of medical and human history, in imaginative forms both practical and elegant in design.”

Part of his collection includes a matching set of twelve bedpans repurposed to serve as orange juice glasses and an enema vessel. DuBois refers to his favorite one as “The Slipper.” He says: “It reminds me of a lady’s slipper.”