A ground-breaking photo project captures life through the eyes of Bristol Care Homes residents

Bristol Care Homes has had the great pleasure to be collaborating with The Royal Photographic Society (RPS), the Arts Council England and the Quartet Community Foundation⁠ on creating a ground-breaking photography exhibition.

Over the past months, we have worked with the RPS on supporting the staff in capturing meaningful moments in the lives of the residents we care for. Artist and photographer Colin Moody has trained our care homes Bristol teams on how to create captivating images of ‘A Day in the Life of a Care Home Resident’. All of this has happened in honour of her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. Residents have had a wonderful time sharing their recollections of the queen, and meaningful portraits were captured.

Where can you see the final 47 portraits?

There are 47 final portraits displayed at the Royal Photographic Society, Bristol starting the 11th of June and a digital preview can be seen at rps.org starting the 2nd of June. After the exhibition, the portraits will be displayed in the care homes; before being presented to participants and their families. You can click here to watch here a beautiful video presenting the project.

Our cherished residents have had a wonderful time attending the “Portraits of Care” exhibition and enjoying their photos in the gallery on Tuesday, 14th of June. With drinks and a light buffet, the Royal Photographic Society team made the staff and residents feel extremely welcome.

The stunning prints amused everybody and sparked several conversations around the room. One resident appreciated that ‘the quality of the prints is very good’ while another pointed to the large smiling photo and exclaimed, ‘that’s me.’

We are very grateful to have been part of this beautiful project in which care homes Bristol staff and residents demonstrated their artistic abilities by capturing the residents’ daily lives in some stunning photographs. As the staff walked through the gallery, they were overcome with passion and pride. Having that link with the rest of the world through the beauty of photography was a blessing.

Richard Crocker, Bristol Care Homes Chief Executive said:

Photo Credit Evan Dawson

We are very grateful to be part of this ground-breaking project. Caring for our residents is at the heart of everything we do, and this project has been a great opportunity to show in images the beautiful, meaningful moments residents get to live in our care homes.

It has also helped our staff to engage with the older people in their care in a new, creative way which only strengthened the great relationships we are nurturing in the care homes. This project has brought a new perspective to our care teams, and it has given the residents a sense of belonging.

Marcia Ellington, Social Engagement and Wellbeing Manager at Bristol Care Homes said:

When Evan and Colin from the RPS talked about their initiative, I was eager to be involved and share this fantastic chance with Photographer Colin Moody throughout the four homes.

Colin’s advice and tactics on angles and lighting when photographing with a smartphone inspired the staff. The staff was keen to begin capturing these photos during their working day right away, capturing meaningful moments and real-life moments.

It was lovely to see residents getting involved; one resident shot her own images with a camera loaned to her by the RPS to give a glimpse into her daily life. Another resident was inspired to photograph flowers in the garden.

The photographs sparked talks across the care homes in Bristol, and while the staff already have a wonderful relationship with their residents, you couldn’t help but be drawn to these strong portraits that truly revealed the Person for who they are.

Evan Dawson, RPS CEO said:

This project demonstrates the special power of the arts to bring people together. The care teams and older people have been brilliant and have clearly benefitted in so many ways from their experiences, learning new skills too. The resulting photographs are powerful, moving, and of very high quality. Please do come and see the exhibition at the RPS, as part of our mission to bring photography to everyone.

Colin Moody, Workshop Leader, said:

Portraits of Care aims to improve individual and communal wellbeing in the care setting whilst growing their photographic practice. This offers a transformative wellbeing that can grow beyond the project whilst also producing work that offers insight and encourages empathy.

It’s essential to get under the surface when documenting social situations – to let the people involved create the work and the story. Working in this way and workshopping with the individuals who live and work in the care homes, was very important.

This project has uncovered some talented photographers and inventive ideas. We will continue our journey to bring photography to everyone and continue to allow those involved to share their stories and what they find beautiful, real, strong, and human.

Developing new skills and creating new connections

The “Portraits of Care” project has helped the care teams to develop new skills and explore their creative abilities while taking meaningful photos of the older people in their care. It has given them the opportunity to get to know the residents and their stories from a new, unique perspective.

The care homes Bristol residents who participated in the project enjoyed sharing their personal histories, while these moments were captured in an artistic, safe, and pleasant environment. This project was a beautiful addition to our long and various list of activities for residents which include:

  • Book clubs
  • Gardening
  • Card games
  • Bingo
  • Cooking
  • Art classes including painting and drawing
  • Board games
  • Entertainment events
  • Dog das
  • Fitness classes
  • Afternoon teas
  • Quiz nights
  • Birthday celebrations and other celebrations
  • Visiting various local attractions and gardens.

You can read more about the Importance of Meaningful Social Activities in Care & Nursing Homes here. 

Special thanks to all involved in this beautiful project

The residents and staff who participated in the project include residents Jules Challen and June Donovan, and care staff including Marcia Ellington, Simon Taylerson, Mariam Mokhtar, Naomi Elder, Michelle Mills, Carly Moore, Tracy Freke, Sarah Stocker and Julie Farrell.

This project supported Bristol Care Homes in their mission to provide a very loving level of care where the wellbeing of the residents is a top priority. “Portraits of Care” has showed that the arts play an important role in making sure that older people living in care homes have a meaningful experience and supports with building nurturing relationships between the care teams and the residents.

About Bristol Care Homes

Bristol Care Homes are a group of four high-quality care homes in Bristol, UK. Bristol Care Homes founding vision is to provide excellence in all aspects of care, looking after their residents’ physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs to ensure they have a happy and fulfilled life.

About The Royal Photographic Society

The Royal Photographic Society (The RPS) is an educational charity with an international membership. Founded in 1853, when photography was in its infancy, the objective of the RPS is to make the art and science of photography more widely available and is committed to bringing photography to everyone.

Today, the RPS is a world-leading photographic community, based in Bristol, UK, with a membership of over 10,000 photographers. The RPS aims to inspire people through its innovative exhibitions, its award-winning RPS Journal, and its highly respected awards and events.

About Colin Moody

Colin is an artist and photographer with a passion for the recognition of culture in Bristol and around the UK. He works on arts projects with various institutions. His books explore the social environment, spaces, and events in Bristol, UK.

About Quartet Community Foundation

Quartet is the local community foundation for the region of the West of England, covering the old Avon boundary – Bath & North Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. We help ordinary people do extraordinary things that make our local communities thrive and improve the lives of people who live here.

Please click here to enjoy more photos from this beautiful project.

If you would like more information about this project, please click here to get in touch and one of our care homes Bristol teams can answer any questions you may have.