Photography exhibition assures families they're not alone

14 March 2012

Fascinating behind the scenes photographs of The Children’s Hospital are helping to reassure anxious families.

Three local photographers were given unlimited access to the hospital last autumn and the result is ‘You’re Not Alone’; the first exhibition to be displayed on the hospital’s ‘Long Gallery’.

Curated by our Arts for Health programme, with backing from the Arts Council, the powerful photographs feature patients, parents and staff.

Cat Powell, our Arts for Health Coordinator, said: “By sharing patients’, parents’ and staff experiences, the exhibition hopes to demonstrate that we’re not alone in our anxieties.

“We want viewers to reflect on - and even celebrate - what makes their own experiences of The Children’s Hospital so unique.”

Cat recruited three Sheffield-based photographers to the project; Andy Brown, Shaun Bloodworth and Richard Hanson.

Andy Brown focussed on the patients at the hospital, including photographing children both before and after surgery for teeth extraction in his ‘Being Brave’ series, the reactions of the young patients to having casts removed in ‘The Potting Shed’ and even surgery on an 11 week old baby.

Andy said: “This project was an incredible opportunity. The thing I reflected on most during my time in the hospital was just how varied the experience of the hospital is for children.

“For most patients, the experience of hospital has the potential to be really quite intimidating; it is testament to the skills of hospital staff in putting patients at ease that I was able to photograph as I did.”

Shaun Bloodworth has worked as a photographer for 24 years, and as a child was a patient himself at The Children's Hospital.

Shaun said: “I spent my time looking at the hopes and fears parents experience when bringing in their children to the hospital, through a series of portraits and interviews.

“What struck me most was the parents feeling of inclusion, in the care, decision making and outcome of their child's condition. It was apparent that becoming part of the extended family of the Hospital was a very important part of the whole healing process.”

Richard Hanson adds: “I came away from the Children’s Hospital with strong impressions of commitment and humour, proactive care and a desire for the children who come through this hospital to receive the best possible help available.”

Barry Whitlam, whose son Carter was born with only one lung and spent almost a year at the hospital, said: “The gallery is a fantastic idea. It will hopefully help visitors to the hospital with their experience and give them an idea of what to expect.

“For me it was great seeing all the different areas of the hospital that hold so many memories.”

The exhibition will remain on the Long Gallery until June, with plans for a public exhibition in the summer. The Long Gallery can be visited by appointment by contacting Cat Powell in the charity office, or can be enjoyed online.