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ISBN: 9781907112560

Publication Year:

Binding: Hardback

Pages: 88

Format: 160 x 210

Illustrations: 48 black and white photographs

Designer: Jamie Shaw


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The Ward

Gideon Mendel



These two wards at The Middlesex Hospital were some of the few dedicated AIDS wards that existed in London, and even more unusual for their decision to open themselves to being photographed. Considering the high levels of stigma and fear that existed at the time, the decision of these four patients to allow themselves, alongside their families, lovers and friends to be photographed was an act of considerable bravery.
During his time at the hospital, he photographed their treatment and many other aspects of ward life, including the intimate way in which the staff, patients and their families related to one another. Treatment was not a passive process, but rather an active engagement on the part of the patients, who were often extremely knowledgeable about their condition. The staff too became far more attached to their patients than was commonplace in hospitals at the time. All of the patients in these photographs died soon after the pictures were taken. They were the unlucky ones, who became sick just before treatment became available.
"Coming back to these images now, twenty five years later, I am struck by how they now seem to have become part of history, marking a very particular moment in time and the evolution of medical and social responses to HIV. Going through my contact sheets I am reminded of the intensity of those moments, of the lives lived so brightly and the desperate sadness and loss for all those connected to John, Ian, Steven and Andre."