Art for Hospitals – the healing process

Photographer Dominic Pote writes: Nature has always fascinated me. I discovered nature through painting from an early age. When later I discovered photography, I wanted to continue, this time with the means of the camera, to reveal more about the feeling a landscape can provoke in us. I wanted to find a way to express this with the camera as I was able to with a paintbrush. Nature gave me a feeling for life, a life-affirming feeling, which I wanted to share with others. We know that nature has many characteristics, but with its calm beauty (often and most of the time) it affirms the feeling of joy and peace. I felt that this feeling comes from the fact that nature is alive, because there is movement in nature (the movement of the water, the trees in the wind, etc.) Conventional photography didn’t seem to give me this opportunity, it always seemed to freeze the moment, whereas I wanted to keep this feeling of movement and life.

Dominic Pote, Clent Hills Sunrise

Dominic Pote, Clent Hills Sunrise

This is why my images rather suggest a landscape, they are more like paintings than like photographs.  Maybe this is why these landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes might look even ambiguous and bring a feeling of mystery. I would like the viewer to have the chance to discover their path through these images of nature – the same way nature gave me this freedom. I hope to offer a sense of freedom and movement, images which invite people to escape and dream or simply pass by if they choose.

So when I started working with hospitals, with their patients and the people who work there, I found that these images of landscapes, which represent my relationship with nature, could become part of other people’s lives. This seemed especially important in an environment such as hospitals and health centres where the relationship between man and nature is to a big extent restricted. I discovered that people in the healing environment have a strong need for nature the same way I experience it, and especially there, where we are mostly detached from our natural surroundings. Although studies have been made on the positive effect of nature on our overall wellbeing (physical, emotional, etc.), for many people there is no need of scientific proof – the experience of the good effect of nature on us is enough. The opportunity to bring my photographs into hospitals, and also to involve others in the creative process, offers a chance to bring a sense of that which nature provides – the feeling of hope and reassurance, of space and light – to all people, whether patients, visitors, or staff.

Images of art for hospitals: Gloucester Royal Hospital commission

Over the past 12 years I have made collections of work for various UK hospitals including Scarborough Hospital, Gloucester Royal Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Salisbury Hospital, Kingston-on-Thames Hospital and health centres and hospices such as Bingley Health Centre in West Yorkshire or the St. Giles Palliative Care Hospice in Walsall.

This link will take you to my blog where you can read further articles regarding my work in relation to art and health.

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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One Response to Art for Hospitals – the healing process

  1. Hilary Powell says:

    It is interesting that you use images of the Clent Hills in the healing environment of the hospital. The area has long been assumed to have a special or numinous character. Narratives from the 12th century describe people visiting the healing well of St Kenelm at the top of Uffmoor Lane and miraculous grass growing in meadows just beneath the crest of the hills. As someone who writes about the healing aspects of this landscape in the Middle Ages, I’m thrilled to hear about it being used in a healing context in the 21st century.

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