Mother & Baby Unit – The Concept and Creation Fen Clarke’s Barrow Gurney Shoot
Back in Feburary 2013. I worked with Fen Clarke on her last Feature Photo Shoot with ALR Photography.
This was to be the shoot of all shoots that we had done and it really turned out to be a success and dare I say, some of the best photos I’ve taken of Fen.
The shoot was at the old Barrow Hospital in Bristol. An abandoned psychiatric treatment hospital that has become quite famous in the local area due to the fact it has been standing empty for some years with many buildings remaining at the time of the shoot.
The photo shoot has a story behind it and this post will now give you the creepy background to this incredible shoot.
Visiting time is over, but the mother waits for her child.
The shoot with Fen took place in the Mother and Baby unit of Barrow Gurney Hospital. A place where mothers would be able to spend time with their children in a less – shall we say – depressing environment.
The walls once decorated with bright paintings and “homely” features are now peeling and damp with detonation and decay after standing empty for many years. But this mothers soul drives her to wait patiently at the window for the moment where she will be reunited with her child once more although visiting time is long over
Almost as if she is blind to the crumbling surroundings which have consumed her mind, the force of love for her child drives her to stand and wait before returning back to the life between walls where she spends her life.
It’s like, waiting for her child is the only sunshine she see’s in a dark and clouded mind through whatever illness has consumed her.
Sadly, when she hits the realisation that once again she will not be visited by her bundle of hope, she returns to her dark and lonely state of mind.. Just waiting for the sun to rise again. The dark corridors with peeling walls guide her to her safe room where she can wait. Not to be disturbed by the sounds of clattering roof tiles and dripping water.
The outside world is nothing but white light, blinding and blurring her vision. Making it impossible to see anything more than the rooms to where she is confined.
Even in light, she lives her life in dark since the days that she was taken from her loved ones for reasons unknown.
Almost as if she is hiding something dark inside of her. Something so dark that she has been locked away in this “hospital” for treatment with no sign of ending.
She spends her days in a primitive state of mind, functioning only on instinct and love for her child.
She carries a dark past but her child is her release.
Torn between two characters.
Which will be strongest and break through?
Sadly, time has passed and visiting hours are over.
Learn More about Barrow Gurney
The location has a lot of history and if it hasn’t already been fully demolished, it will be soon.
This location was an incredible insight into the style of these buildings. Ones that are build for such troubled reasons but cling onto some very simple things that remind us of “home”.
You can find out more about Barrow Gurney by visiting this Wikipedia article.