Matt Bigwood: The Lens Inside a Psychiatric Hospital

Patient outside

All images by Matt Bigwood. Used with permission.

Photographer Matt Bigwood is no stranger to the Phoblographer. We featured his very long pinhole photo project a while back; but today, he comes to our site showing off a documentary project that he’s been working on for many years. “When I began photographing there the attitude was more relaxed – Romania was not in the European Union and the head of the hospital realized that the pictures did more good than harm. Romania was still perceived as an under-developed former Eastern Bloc nation.” says Matt about the project. He continued to state that the overall mood of the patients there was also quite upbeat.

In 2014, the charity folded due to lack of funding. According to what Matt tells us, there is a perception by some people in the UK that since Romania joined the European Union, and border restrictions within the EU have been lifted that Britain is overcrowded with Romanians and other Eastern European workers who are having a negative effect on the UK economy.

“…and the knock-on effect was ‘why should I donate to a charity that helps in Romania?’.”

Matt started the project on the understanding that they could help fundraising for the hospital. “If a patient was reluctant to be photographed I would not take the picture. I joined the charity in 2000 and was a member until it folded and made a dozen or more trips there.”

The rest of Matt’s documentary photo story is after the jump.

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Making a Six Month Pinhole Exposure From a Beer Can

Pinhole 2012-best

Matt Bigwood hails from the UK and has been a photographer since 1986, and recently showed us a photo from a long term project that he worked on. The photo above is a six month long exposure using a beer can converted into a pinhole camera. Pinhole photography is amongst the earliest forms of the craft, and it is practiced by many still even today. We’ve reviewed pinhole adapters for mirrorless cameras before and we’ve even taken part of World Pinhole Day: a once a year festival that celebrates all things pinhole.

To learn more about his project and pinhole photography, we briefly talked with Matt about his vision, calculations, etc.

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