31st August 2005 to 29th October 2005A new photographic exhibition by Dr. John Clarke, local GP in Crook, County Durham for nearly 30 years, opens at Darlington Media Workshop Photography Gallery on August 31st. The GPs Patch is the result of nearly 15 years of portraiture by local doctor John Clarke amongst his patients. The project took John out of his practice and into the lives of local people.
A central feature of The GPs Patch is a series of portraits on the allotments of Crook. “It is important for a family doctor to form a good relationship with patients in the few minutes available for consultation, and I found that experience helpful in creating relaxed photography. I try never to actively pose subjects, instead I simply try to catch the moment that I feel fits their personality. From that initial series I became fascinated by the allotment scene, and most of my attention is directed to that now, in part because I enjoy the company of the allotment holders themselves so much”.
The exhibition also includes a number of portraits of well-known local personalities such as late MP and deputy speaker Ernie Armstrong and Jonty the local cobbler. But the allotment connection became central to John’s work, and is even featuring in proposals to use an allotment as a form of health cure for heart patients.