Local charity St John’s Hospital has gone under the lens recently, as part of a unique photographic project by a local artist.
Ilene Sterns’ ‘842: a portrait of St John’s Hospital’ exhibition gives visitors a special insight into the charity, which not only provides almshouse accommodation but also supports thousands of people, across Bath and North East Somerset, through its Grant Making Programmes and Social Investment.
The exhibition consists of a series of black and white portrait photographs of St John’s Residents and staff.
Altogether on display, there are 16-framed photographs, featuring close up portraits. There is also a photo book, which includes the film photographs as well as black and white shots of St John’s buildings and gardens, to help set the scene for the whole installation.
The project is the brainchild of local artist Ilene Sterns. She used a plastic Holga lens that gives the pictures a timeless vintage look. One of the images features all the Residents from St Catherine’s almshouse, as a memento of their time together.
It is also reminiscent of an image of Residents who lived there in the 1900s, which is printed in the book “Spirit of Care”, the history of St John’s.
Ilene said: “My thinking, behind the project, was to illustrate the continuity between the current Residents and staff at St John’s and their historic antecedents.
“I am a Mayor’s Guide and always stop outside St Michael’s Chapel, inside Chapel Court, to give my groups a brief history of the charity. So this was the perfect opportunity to get ‘inside’ the organisation and study it, through the lens.
“The two photo shoots gave me a bit of an insight into St John’s and how critical it is for older people in Bath. As an artist/photographer I always try to reveal what’s below the surface, and in order to do that, I have to gain people’s trust.
“I was very grateful to both the Residents and the staff for opening up to me, and telling me about their lives and work. What I heard over and over was how fortunate they are to be part of St John’s, to have a lovely and secure home in such a beautiful place, where they are well treated and there are so many interesting things to do. And the staff take real pride in St John’s and its work.”
Ilene’s Exhibition will be displayed in The Bubble at St John’s from 5 pm to 7 pm on 16th-20th May.
Anyone requiring details about the 842 Exhibition or events in The Bubble should call 01225 486403.