Gideon Mendel’s heart-wrenchingly tender portraits of a 90s AIDS ward

Date
30 October 2017
Reading Time
1 minute read

Nearly 15 years ago for a few weeks in 1993, photographer Gideon Mendel became a resident at London’s first AIDS ward — the Broderip — and at Charles Bell ward, both in London’s Middlesex Hospital where he photographed the patients as part of the Positive Lives project. The two wards were then among London’s very few AIDS wards at a time when the stigmatised illness quickly killed most of its sufferers for whom antiviral medication was not yet available.

Gideon’s resulting series The Ward follows the stories of four male patients, John, Steven, Ian and Andre. Strikingly sad in its tender intimacy, the monochromatic series pictures the four men surrounded by friends, families and lovers, hugging, chatting, holding hands and kissing. All four men died shortly after the photographs were taken.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Borderip’s opening by Princess Diana, and the launch of The Ward, which is being shown in the form of a new exhibition and book, published by Trolley Books. It charts Gideon’s experiences in the two wards in what was the chapel of The Middlesex Hospital. While the rest of the hospital was demolished back in 2005, the chapel, which is Grade II listed, remains, recently reopened as The Fitzrovia Chapel. Here, 14 images from The Ward will be shown from 5 November – 3 December on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Above

Gideon Mendel: The Ward

Share Article

About the Author

Bryony Stone

Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.