Clare Park’s Breaking Form: Buz and Parkinson’s at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

Trampoline © Clare Park, photo courtesy of the artist from the collaborative project Breaking Form: Buzz and Parkinson's

“Each of us, the fish and I, has a body that is lightweight, but like a salmon’s instinct, I possess strength of will and mind that compels/propels me continually and metaphorically upstream.”

Breaking Form: Buz and Parkinson is a photographic collaboration between photographer Clare Park, Person With Parkinson’s (PWP) Buz Williams and his wife, movement specialist Debbie Green the work uses performance and photography to articulate powerful and evocative portraits.

I first saw Park’s work at the OPEN Hereford and was intrigued by both her collaborative process and the actual work, so this is a great chance to see more as the show is on from today until 14 June. The private view is tonight, which I won’t be able to make, so I’ll be heading over there next week instead as it on at the Lecture Theatre Foyer, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) in London, weekdays between 9-5pm, depending on lectures.

“The photos explore Buz’s responses to his family and living with the debilitating, chronic disease. He and his wife, Debbie Green, have written thought-provoking captions for each image. Buz said: “I would like people to be moved by the photographs one way or another – it doesn’t matter which way – stirred or amused, shocked or inspired. Those who have Parkinson’s start their Parkinson’s life on the day of diagnosis and then they ‘hang round’ till the illness runs its course, so the pictures altogether, as an entity, could offer others the opportunity to take another look at their illness and how they might deal with it…

“Without medication none of these photos would exist, as I am unable to move or am disabled by shaking. The polar opposite of this when on medication is, of course, dyskinesia when my movements are involuntary, uncontrollable, and often excessive – fast without focus. I lurch and spin and flail, my head and feet go in opposite directions not necessarily at the same speed!”

“Buz first met Clare through his wife Debbie, a teacher of movement for actors; the two friends originally met in their teens, whilst training as ballet dancers at the Rambert School of Ballet. Buz trained as a theatre director and the photographic imagery is derived from their shared professional backgrounds of theatre, dance and movement.

Clare said of her subject: “Buz is an extraordinary man, both humorous and wilful! Placing himself in the public sphere and gaze gives him a sense of power and self-recognition at a time when control is diminishing in his everyday life.” Buz, for his part, considers Clare to have been a great companion on this photographic journey, supplying the footholds and guidelines needed to keep the project going forward for 18 years; “she’s bang on the button.” Press release.


5 responses to “Clare Park’s Breaking Form: Buz and Parkinson’s at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

  1. I couldn’t be at the private view. Argh! But I will be there soon.

    This is the most must-see exhibition on currently. Buz, Deb and Clare’s documentation over at least 15 years of Buz’s Parkinsons Disease is moving, enlightening, inspiring and most of all creative.

    Go. Get there today.

  2. Hopefully this will raise the profile of Parkinsons (both the disease and organisation) and give people hope.
    In addition they are wonderful to look at and please read the captions too.

  3. Thanks for the comments, am looking forward to seeing the work…

  4. Toby Sedgwick

    These pictures of Buzz are quite extaordinary.Clare manages to create images that say so much. They are thought provoking, deeply moving, humerous on occasions and show a deep understanding between herself and Buzz,debbie and their family.

  5. Clare – I love this picture its very moving and deep in both concentration and agony or so seems to me. So good to see you using colour this way, very vibrant and pure, of course the lighting is very expressive too in your usual way. Good luck with your exhibition its a wonderful study of the body and mind – yet again!

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