Darren Lewey

Photographer, Writer and Workshop leader
'1987'- Documenting my photo therapy class
Location: Essaouira, Morocco
Nationality: British
Biography: I'm an educator, workshop leader, photographer and writer showcasing international work on Creative Camera . My own photography pursues natural landscapes, altered environments and portraiture. I work both in film and digital and place a high... MORE
Public Story
'1987'- Documenting my photo therapy class
Copyright Darren Lewey 2023
Updated Oct 2020
Topics Aging, Black and White, Documentary, Film, Historical, Mental health Psychiatric Hospital Photo Therapy Patients, Mental Illness, Photography, Spotlight
Here are the only images that remain from the summer of 1987 when I volunteered and later worked at Hill End Psychiatric Hospital in Hertfordshire, England. The old Victorian hospital from the late 19th Century had spectacularly long corridors and was situated in nearly 500 acres of grounds with chestnut trees. The hospital was just a hundred years old when it was finally closed in 1995. The 1980’s saw the gradual boarding up of some buildings as patient numbers diminished in the light of political moves towards more community based care.

I knew the more regular approach of gaining access to take photos was unavailable based on consent.  Instead I focused on using my photographic knowledge to give the patients a creative outlet, enabling them to get out and take photos during which I would record them doing so. The images shown were made during a short time frame when I was running a weekly ‘photo therapy’ class for long-term patients.

I had no plans for the results and knew that publishing them would be out the question. Now over 30 years later it’s probably safe to assume it is. The photos that remain are the blend of colour images as taken by patients and my own black and white photos as I originally sequenced them.

At the time I didn't know what my future career would be, but now some 33 years later, photography as a form of therapy, has gained more traction and mindfulness is one of the classes I offer.
Mindfulness courses | Creative Camera
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'1987'- Documenting my photo therapy class by Darren Lewey
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