In summer 2012 l contacted Sunderland Carers’ Centre with an idea to document the varying hobbies and interests of carers as a distinct group of people. I came at the project as an outsider looking in, only having a vague idea about what carers do and I didn’t know any carers personally. The Carers’ Centre put me in touch with the carers you see exhibited here and so the project began.
I would drive to wherever I was meeting the carers, each time, with a sense of nervousness. It wasn’t about the actual shoot, that is something I find easy, but the fact that I was about to meet people who have dedicated a part of their life to look after a loved one. I couldn’t properly comprehend this because I have never been in that position myself.
I was also very conscious of taking up their precious time. The carers were often fitting the shoots around other appointments and the needs of the people they care for, so arriving late or running over weren’t an option. I quickly realised I wasn’t just documenting their hobbies or interests but the precious time they need to take to get a break from their caring roles.
The photographs became an exhibition as part of the Carers’ Centre’s Carers Rights Day celebrations in December 2012 and were then exhibited again at Sunderland University in March 2013. The project is still evolving and some new images were added for the exhibition showing in the Houses of Parliament in June 2014.
I hope the photographs exhibited really capture the wonderful personalities of all the carers involved in this project and gives each of them a visual record of their ‘time well earned’.
Daniel Dale, Photographer
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