Nursing home staff shoot unique RPS photo exhibit

June 2, 2022

The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) has announced a groundbreaking photographic exhibition, Portraits of careshot dead by residents and staff at three Bristol care homes.

In the spring of 2022, the RPS worked with three Bristol care homes to help care staff create unique photographic portraits of the older people in their care.

Through workshops and tutorials, led by photographer Colin Moody, care teams were supported to create creative and meaningful images of residents, while reflecting on their memories of Queen Elizabeth II.

Touch and Tenderness, Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

Touch and Tenderness, Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

The resulting 47 portraits will go on display at the RPS, Bristol, from June 11, 2022, with a digital preview of the Portraits of Care exhibition already online.

Following the exhibition, the portraits will be exhibited in nursing homes and will then be presented to the participants and their families.

The portrait project was created in partnership with Bristol Care Homes, Arts Council England and the Quartet Community Foundation.

Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

The power of the arts

RPS CEO Evan Dawson said: “This project demonstrates the special power of the arts to bring people together. The care teams and seniors have been brilliant and have clearly benefited in so many ways from their experiences, also learning new skills. The resulting photographs are powerful, moving and of very high quality. Please come see the exhibit at RPS, as part of our mission to bring photography to everyone.

Workshop leader Colin Moody explained, “Portraits of Care aims to improve individual and collective well-being in healthcare establishments while developing their photographic practice. This provides a transformative well-being that can grow beyond the project while producing work that offers insight and encourages empathy. It is essential to go below the surface when documenting social situations – to let the people involved create the work and the story. Working in this way and doing workshops with people who live and work in care homes was very important. This project made it possible to discover talented photographers and inventive ideas. We will continue our journey to bring photography to everyone and continue to allow those involved to share their stories and what they find beautiful, real, strong and human.

Jules Challen, A Day in My Life, Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

Jules Challen, A Day in My Life, Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

Marcia Ellington, Head of Social Engagement and Wellbeing at Bristol Care Home Group, revealed, “Every day, the well-being of our residents is at the heart of everything we do. It was exciting to have the opportunity to express the lives of residents through photography. There was a significant impact in the houses. There was a wonderful atmosphere and the residents and staff were so inspired to start taking photos of their daily lives and showing off their new skills. This project gave residents a sense of belonging and brought them comfort in their daily lives.

Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

photography for all

The project demonstrates a new fact-based approach to creative photography and builds on RPS’s new transformation strategy, photography for allmore precisely the photography for well-being section which aims to support the elderly, carers, young carers and people with autism, dementia and disabilities.

Those involved in the project included residents Jules Challen and June Donovan and caregivers Michelle Mills, Carly Moore, Marcia Ellington, Naomi Elder, Simon Taylerson, Mariam Mokhtar, Tracy Freke, Sarah Stocker and Julie Farrell.

Portraits of care is funded by Arts Council England’s Let’s Create Jubilee Fund in partnership with UK Community Foundations, a £5 million investment to help voluntary and community organizations deliver creative activities as part of Sa’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations Majesty the Queen.

The project is also supported by the Quartet Community Foundation and West of England Creative Business Grants.

You can now see the digital preview of the exhibition on RPS Portraits of Care.

Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

Bristol Care Homes, courtesy of RPS

RPS: royal patrons

Queen Elizabeth II was Patron of the Royal Photographic Society for 67 years, from 1952 to 2019.

She was replaced in the role by the Duchess of Cambridge, who is known to be an avid amateur photographer.

For more information, visit the Royal Photographic Society website.

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