Back in the 90’s, it was rare for hospital wards dedicated to treating AIDS patients to open their doors for photographers. In 1993, however, Gideon Mendel got a rare chance to spend a few weeks in London’s Middlesex Hospital’s Charles Bell’s ward, where he came face to face with what this virus does to the patients.
It was a time when a lot of young people, especially gay men, were dying because of the lack of medication. The fear surrounding the disease was immaculate, so it’s portrayal was often reflecting the stigma.When most photographers only dared to take pictures from behind a glass wall, Gideon Mendel took a step closer as he wanted to step away from portraying HIV and AIDS patients as “emaciated, dying skeletons.” and show the love that people were radiating. “I think people felt like it was time to open things up and not feel so hunted down and closeted,” claimed Mendel.
The attention and care of the hospital staff were also extraordinary. Nurses formed close bonds with the unlucky ones, who got sick just before treatments became available. The four men that Mendel focused his photo series on died soon after the pictures were taken.
Scroll down to take a look at the heartbreakingly intimate black and white portrayals of lives in an AIDS ward.
Back in 1993, photographer Gideon Mendel spent a few weeks at London’s first AIDS ward taking pictures of the patients
Instead of showing the dreadful side of the disease, the photographer chose to capture love
While many photographers chose to stay behind the glass walls when taking pictures, Mendel decided to step inside
There he could take an intimate look at the relationships between the patients, their families, and friends
Even the nurses of the hospital formed tight bonds with the hospitalized
It was unusually brave for these people to open up about their condition and let a photographer into their lives
It was the time when a lot of young people, especially gay men, were dying because of the virus
Back then there wasn’t any medication available that could help the patients, which made the disease even more terrifying
These people were the unlucky ones who got sick before treatments became available
The four men that Mendel decided to focus these series on died soon after the pictures were taken