Photography was a lifelong hobby for Walter. Not only is the camera itself a shield, but, as Jack El-Hai points out, hiding in a darkroom for hours is also a great way to avoid your resentful wife. The pictures of ice-picked patients in this stix are modeled after a photograph Howard Dully included in his memoir, and that you can find on Google Images if you search for his name. (Be warned that it's a hard picture to look at.) Why would Walter need hundreds, maybe thousands, of essentially identical photographs? There's something pornographic about the idea.
The last time Walter visited Egas Moniz he wanted to photograph cher maître's crippled hands, but Egas angrily refused. Nobel laureates stay on the handle end of the knife, and on the viewfinder side of the camera. (Or maybe Egas was just touchy about his condition, of which you can see some of the ravages in this rather grainy picture.)
Over at Small Peculiar I ask, "Did this request stem from a) a desire to objectify and possess Egas b) tenderness or c) both? What about those endless pictures of patients in mid-lobotomy? What about Walter's alleged affair with Mrs. Ionesco, his first transorbital patient?" Here I will add that on my most recent trip to California my nephew asked, "What if I kept you in my room? As a pet?"
That's my boy!