In collaboration with Art in Hospital, this project grew out of my research between the arts and healthcare sectors. The project took place in Greenfield Park care-home for older people, where many residents are confined to the grounds, due to their health. I wanted to create a project which had multiple benefits for the residents; impacting their health, stimulation, creativity and the power to better their environment. Ultimately I was aiming to improve their quality of life through all of these elements. Gardening and photography became the main outlets, through photograph they embraced new learning and creativity. The communal garden area we grew provided the residents with a way to improve and brighten their daily surroundings.
The communal garden area before
The residents help with planting
The garden in bloom
The project began in the spring and ran through to winter. In the early stages we planted a garden where many of the rooms looked out onto. We used a selection of plants and flowers chosen deliberately for their evocative scent and colour. As the garden area grew it became our artistic subject. We used a range of photography equipment to document this, including an IPAD and DSLR with 100mm macro lens. We kept several plants potted and picked a mixture of flowers to bring inside, aware that mobility and weather were restricting. When photographing, we played with composition and colour and incorporated other artefacts to create different arrangements. Individuals then chose their digital photographs to work on in Photoshop, experimenting with cropping, colour density and filters. They also drew directly onto the photographs, which allowed unassisted control and a more tactile approach.
The residents experiment with materials and techniques
Photographs by John Walters
The project resulted in an in-house exhibition showing these photographs, alongside a small publication. Through this exhibition and the creativity of the residents, we created ‘windows’ bringing a piece of the natural outdoors in. For those residents who often live very internal lifestyles, the project allowed them to imprint on their everyday setting, making it a more positive and personal space.
‘The Green Room’ publication