Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day FIVE

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Bonus day FIVE! The BBC were interested in featuring the project in a programme about dementia and their filming schedule effectively gave us an extra day. And so Day Five saw us revisiting our explorations of our beautiful local landscape and sharing the whole experience again, this time with Fiona Phillips who seemed delighted to share it with us. We were also joined by Delia, who really enjoyed seeing the group again and loved the journey we had all experienced. Poetry and song had been continuously present, and a line of poetry often featured – ‘what is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare….’Annette read out the poem by W.H. Davies with such expression and feeling – it was a wonderful moment.

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Practical activity continued with the film crew present. Joyce used her shorthand skills to turn words that described her experiences of lovely days into lovely calligraphic shapes amongst her photographs and songs. A rendition of Some Enchanted Evening filled the room at one point. And the regular mix of laughter, engagement, enjoyment.

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We were all really affected by the project and felt that we had been involved in something very special. Jack reflected on the insights he had developed about people with dementia and their carers being involved in something so positive together, and how pleasurable that is. There will be another session to complete the lovely inked wallets and to give some time to gather feedback for evaluation. The group felt a little bereft as we said goodbye, and we will definitely make a real effort to meet to watch the programme together when it is broadcast on 13 October.

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nside Out BBC1 on 13 October….watch this space!

 

 

 

 

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Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day FOUR

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Day Four and a bringing together day beginning with a PowerPoint of the three days of photographs which was a wonderfully vivid returning to as well as celebrating of the experience. Lots of laughter, shared recollections, shared enjoyment. Reliving anecdotes. Returning to songs and poems and moments. I introduced James who showed the group Hardman’s beautiful old camera, regaling the group with stories of some of Hardman’s adventures including being chased by bulls where Mrs Hardman lost the contents of her handbag and another occasion where he lost his camera to the water at Skelwith Bridge. James explained about seeing the image through the viewfinder upside down and we all felt much better about our ipad technique! He also shared one of the glass plate ‘negatives’. And then I showed the group Ruth and Vic’s map of memories and explained how it has been made, showed them the inked surfaces and we reflected on how map-like they are, how the ink suggests mountains and lakes, and an atmospheric sense of being in the landscape.

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Words of poetry and songs were also available for them to collage with – and recipes to rekindle memories of afternoon tea! Vic and Ruth had brought their recipes for Tea Bread and Apricot Butter Cake, and they had selected songs by Elvis Presley, and so the words to Love Me Tender and Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, as well as That’s Amore that we sung on Day One, were collaged onto their map. The task for each member of the group was to select their inked ‘map’ and then transform it into a map of their moments, using a combination of photographs taken during the project and those taken by Joseph Hardman, along with selected songs, poems and recipes.

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This was done with relish! And to add to the special atmosphere of the afternoon, the songs inspired singing – with impromptu renditions throughout the afternoon. We used the inks to make lovely stained papers that they would use to make a wallet to keep their map together.

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Afternoon tea came in the form of a huge home-made carrot cake to celebrate mine and Annette’s birthdays!

 

Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day THREE

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Day Three began with the map, looking at images of everyone’s faces collaged alongside that of Joseph Hardman mapping the last weeks’ route, immediately connecting with previous experiences, a recognition of involvement, engagement. As the taxi arrives, we are looking at the map and the image of Mr Hardman’s portrait dotted across the route from Kendal to Bowness, the images of Mrs Hardman feeding the birds at Bowness and Delia at Esthwaite and know that we are ultimately heading to Hawkshead, one of Mr Hardman’s favourite places to have afternoon tea.

Every moment stimulates conversation. The taxi driver, anxious about time, headed along the A591 and Joyce was very quick to notice – ‘this isn’t the Crook road!’ she called from the back! Recollections from Annette as we inched our way through busy traffic in Windermere. “I had a yen to live in Windermere, but I’m glad I didn’t. Too busy, far too busy!” The contours of the fells connected with her. A feeling that she knew them, she’d walked them. ‘I knew every inch of these hills.’ And observing the trees returning her to an enduring friendship with German friends who ‘loved our English trees!’

Across the ferry, Joyce was out of the taxi taking photographs. And then up the winding road into Beatrix Potter country! And then a sharp left turn and downhill along a narrow single track road which felt like a real adventure. Discovering the lake at Esthwaite was a delight. After the busy traffic at Windermere it was a haven of tranquillity, with the group really enjoying the atmosphere, the light on the lake, the hills beyond. We had a quick recap on how to use the ipads after much hilarity over Jack’s skill at taking lovely details of his thumbs! The group gathered together to watch Annette feeding ducks, birds and swans, and some beautiful photographs were taken of the ducks on the water. We posed with the parasol and then a final photograph of the whole group before heading to Hawkshead.

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We arrived in the town square, immediately making a note of the old building, now locked and boarded, with a railing up to what would have been one of Joseph Hardman’s favourite haunts to eat in. We had arranged a table at Poppi Red Café where, in celebration of Mr Hardman’s love of tea and cake, we discussed our favourite recipes. Leaving Annette and Julie in the café, the rest of the group went up to the church to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding hills. Back in the taxi, we drove along the other side of Esthwaite, looking across to where we taken our photographs, and then took the Crook road back to Kendal.

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Arriving back at Abbot Hall we made a circle of our feet returning to the place we started our adventure three weeks ago.

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Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day TWO

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Day Two began with a PowerPoint presentation of the photographs taken on Day One and then a quick look at the collaged map to see that in the area around Kendal, the groups faces and photographs had been layered amongst those of Joseph Hardman – a really effective way of returning to the previous weeks experiences, focusing on location, seeing their own image. Laughter at the photography, particularly the feet, and the headless figures and Vic’s selfie of his fleece zip, and remembering songs we’d referred to – and then the taxi arrived and we were setting off to Rydal, with ipads and parasol!

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It was the most glorious day, brilliant vivid blue sky and sunshine. We stopped en route at the jetty at Lowood to take photographs across Windermere to the Langdales – a beautiful view of the mountains which looked stunning. And then on to Rydal Hall where we were to meet Delia Shaw, a favourite model of Mr Hardman, who took photographs of her at Rydal in 1948 when Delia was in her late teens. Now 84, we were to have afternoon tea with her, and have an opportunity to listen to her share her memories of that period in her life. Rydal is also where Wordsworth lived, and so Harriet Fraser from the Wordsworth Trust joined us with poetry, reading extracts from Dorothy’s journal and some beautiful poetry by the 17th century Japanese poet, Basho. Some memorable moments: Harriet reading poetry on the terrace, Annette peacefully absorbing the words, Ruth and Vic smiling with the parasol by the fountain, calling out Delia’s name across Dora’s Field…. A lovely feeling throughout the day that this is what the project is – reaching out across the years, touching the past, but so warmly and pleasurably located in the present.

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Afternoon tea, meeting Delia, shared stories, connections, sharing her photograph albums, more poetry. Then more photographs as we set off on our return journey and arrive back in Kendal enthused, invigorated and smiling.

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Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day ONE

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Day One began by the entrance to the museum. We looked at a selection of Joseph Hardman images one of which was taken in front of Abbot Hall when the oval was boarded for dancing. Dancing happened to celebrate VE and VJ days and also in 1953 to celebrate the Queen’s coronation. I’d collected some songs that were being sung in 1953; I Believe by Frankie Laine, Secret Love by Doris Day and That’s Amore by Dean Martin to name a few. I showed the group a map of Kendal that I had collaged with Hardman photography and many tiny images of Joseph Hardman dotted along the routes that we would be taking. Our first location was around Kirkland, the church, gallery and river. I had sourced a walking stick and parasol, similar to those visible in a couple of the Hardman images and these became useful props.

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After a quick introduction to the ipads, and an invitation to be playful (the instruction to take ‘selfies’ and photographs of our feet as we were walking caused much hilarity!) the group dispersed and enjoyed the next 45 minutes exploring the area. Joyce was brilliant at receiving tips about how to use the ipad from members of the public. The general feeling was relaxed and enjoying and we finished the session in the coffee house with Joyce’s stories of bowls and golf inspiring a memory in Annette of hitting a hole in one and never letting her husband forget it!

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Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman

 

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This project was created to engage people living with dementia and their carers with the photographer Joseph Hardman and the incredible record he made of Cumbrian Life from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. The aim was to bring him and his photographs to life by focusing on the journeys he made around his beloved Cumbria, and travel like him by taxi to take contemporary photographs in some of his favourite places. In the spirit of constantly developing new skills, we would also be taking OUR photographs using ipad technology, rather than the cameras of old. The aim was to create a project that would have a sustained note over a period of time. Throughout the duration of the project, experiences would be constantly replayed and layered, with our photographs creating a tangible sense of shared moments together. The project spanned four afternoons over a four week period. We took photographs in 3 different locations, each one providing a range of vistas and stimulus, with every day having a social focus around afternoon tea as one of Joseph Hardman’s great pleasures was always to head for a favourite café or pub at particular sites. We then spent a final day making a map of memories to give form to the photographs we had taken. We were wonderfully supported on every day by volunteers, Chris, Jack and Mary who gave their time generously and gave so much care to Ruth and Vic, Joyce, Annette, Charlotte, Julie and Pamela. On Day Four, we were joined by Sylvia and Justina who had been unable to join us before then due to ill health. Harriet from the Wordsworth Trust brought our day in Rydal to life with words from Wordsworth. And one of the highlights was to meet Delia Shaw, one of Joseph Hardman’s models who shared her memories of the times she spent with Mr and Mrs Hardman during the late 1940’s.

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