From Saturday 17 December residents from Anchor’s Silk Court care home in Bethnal Green will have their portraits displayed at Oxford House Gallery, after taking part in a photography project called Streetwise.

The project involved Silvy Hibell, activities co-ordinator at Silk Court, and photographer Jonathan Chater taking each resident to a street in London with which they share their name and recording the moment with a 'street portrait'. The aim of the Streetwise project is to provide a meaningful outing for Silk Court residents. By photographing each resident with his or her street sign, and then exploring the street and its near neighbourhood, the hope was to awaken memories of a childhood spent in the streets, going to school as well as playing games such as hopscotch, marbles or whip and top.

Resident Vera Green, 96, served in the Land Army and had a great time on her trip to Fulham where Vera Road is located. She said: “Vera Road? Who would imagine there was a road called Vera! I bet this road is quite old like me.  The good thing about being old is that I can get away with not doing lots of things.” 

Another resident David Jones, 90, who worked as a textile designer said: “I was very excited to be part of this project as I like taking pictures and having my picture taken. I wanted to look at my best; it felt like I was going on a date!”

Photographer Jonathan Chater described his experience: “On the day of each 'street portrait' I would talk with the resident on the way to our destination and try to find out more about them. After we took the more formal portrait beside the street sign, we often went with the residents to have some tea at a local cafe. There I was able to capture the residents in more relaxed mood. I often find I get the best photographs of people when they are not aware they are being photographed."

The Streetwise exhibition will be held at Oxford House Gallery, Derbyshire Street, London from 17 to 22 December. Entry is free. 

For more information on Anchor’s Silk Court, contact 0800 731 2020.

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