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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Portrait of a GP

Textbooks and journals; models, paradigms and curricula; policy documents and position statements ­ in verbiage of every form we try to define the essence of general practice. The task seems urgent, for unless we can explain its complex subtleties

to taxpayers, medical students, managers, the media and policymakers, we might fear

for the very survival of our discipline. If only someone would write the exactly perfect account of what we doctors do, exactly describe the sort of people

we are

or capture the perfect

truth-telling image? For in the spontaneity of an expression,

a gesture, a moment of vulnerability, more can be revealed about doctors and doctoring than in whole libraries of the written word.

Sir Samuel Fildes' painting

of 'The Doctor' seated at the bedside of a sick child may have done it for the Victorians. For us, however, photography, with its unromanticised immediacy and detail, is perhaps the more honest medium. The painted image invites us to infer a kind

of truth from a kind of distortion. But general practice is itself distorted unless we acknowledge it as a form of homage to the sheer humanity of both doctor and patient. With the click of

a skilled photographer's shutter, such humanity is portrayed for

us all to celebrate.

'The Medic in the Portrait'

Seminar at the National Portrait Gallery

21 April 1.30pm-5.30pm

Tickets £15 ( £10 concessions)

For booking ring NPG on

020 7306 0055

Or e-mail

First 10 bookings are free

This seminar accompanies this photography education project which involved commissioning three photographers to take portraits of GPs in their Bristol, London and Brighton surgeries.

The seminar will discuss the commissioned portraits within the wider landscape of medical portraiture and the field of medical humanities.

Speakers are drawn from across the project and will include Dr Jacques Mizan (director of Space Works at King's College, London),

Phil Johnson (editor of Pulse) and

Helen James (project manager of 'Portrait of a GP').

'Portrait of a GP' is a collaboration between Pulse and the National Portrait Gallery and is funded by the Healing Environment Research Cluster Project an EPSRC/ AHRC Designing for the 21st Century initiative.

Photographer Sara Haq

Location Bedminster Family Practice, Bristol

Commentary Dr Roger Neighbour, president, RCGP




in the


Alongside our project to produce fine-art photography in three GP settings, we are interested in your views on the effect of art and architecture on you and your patients. Please take a few minutes to complete this online questionnaire and you could win a Canon Powershot 52IS.

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