Landscape & Nature Photography Blog: Hospital Artwork | Why & How Art Is Chosen

“The fact that patients frequently express a preference for landscape and nature scenes is consistent with this observation and with evolutionary psychological theories which predict positive emotional responses to flourishing natural environments. We also conclude that if art is considered an integral part of hospital design, as in the hospitals we studied, this will maximize these benefits.”The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

Evidence-Based Design For Healthcare Facilities

The thought of having to visit a doctor, dentist, optometrist or the hospital is stressful for most people before even considering the ambience and interior design of the healthcare facility. For many years, healthcare facilities were sterile and stress-inducing places that patients would dread visiting. Lets face it, many still are! Now that we're well into the 21st century there is a volume of research supporting the notion that positive emotional states plays an important role in recovery times and healthcare prevention. Thankfully many new healthcare facilities are being built with evidence-based design principles. Wall art for hospitals and other healthcare facilities often consist of nature photography since research indicates that when patients see nature scenes they have better odds of improved health over those who aren't exposed to nature scenes.

While artists tend to believe that art galleries are the most common place to view artwork, the truth is that people are more likely to see nature photography prints in a hospital setting than in a formal art gallery. Hospital artwork exists for a reason. If fine art photography prints didn’t elicit a positive response in medical patients and guests then it wouldn’t be so prevalent on the walls of hospitals and medical offices. It’s probably no coincidence why I gravitated toward landscape and nature photography during my early 20s when I was going through a rough time in life. Photography art was my therapeutic outlet even if I wasn’t consciously aware of it at that time. The same feelings that I get while creating artwork can be elicited in viewers of hospital artwork as well according to research such as the articles referenced at the beginning of this article.

Chinese Garden Waterfall
Chinese Garden Waterfall

What Colors Are Most Effective For Hospital Art?

Many photographers tend to only shoot photos during the warm-colored light of sunrise and sunset hours. The more "creative" photographers tend to gravitate toward an intimate abstract type of photography. According to the research however, patients tend to prefer the calming blues and greens in typical landscape and nature scenes over other colors and abstract artwork. That is the sobering reality of the healthcare art market for photographers but I believe it. Of the prints I’ve sold to date, most were photographed during times of day that most photographers tend to avoid and quite honestly not always photos that I would choose for my own home. Different situation, different needs. There’s a reason for it so I don’t shy away from shooting photos at all times of the day. If it looks good then then it doesn’t matter what time of day it was shot even if during the oft-dreaded midday hours. “Big, Bold and Often Dramatic” imagery is more likely to impress other photographers than non-photographers. Garden and flower photography prints are also another common type of hospital artwork that I’ve seen. There is something almost universally calming about garden scenes.

Water Wheel
Water Wheel

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare nor mental health professional. If you are in need of those services then I would suggest seeking a professional in those fields. These are just my own personal observations based on what I’ve seen and read as an artist. If I can assist you in any way with evidence-based design art selection then please feel free to contact me through this website. Below are some more photos for inspiration.

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Hospital Artwork - California Missions Photography Prints

Loma Linda Rehab Center architecture photo thanks to Ryan Beck Photography

carmel mission, garden window, california, photo, photo

Carmel Mission Garden WIndow

Carmel Mission Garden Window, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Founded in 1770, Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Carmelo aka. Carmel Mission was the 2nd of 21 California Missions. Carmel Mission was the headquarters of the Alta California Missions from 1797 until 1833 when the Mexican government secularized the California Missions.

Year Photographed: 2007

Fall Foliage Reflection in Lake Nevin, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky, photo, photo

October Beauty

Fall Foliage Reflection in Lake Nevin, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky

butchart gardens, sunken garden overlook, vancouver island, canada, british columbia, photo, photo

The Butchart Gardens Photo

Sunken Garden Overlook at the Butchart Gardens, Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island, B.C.

Featuring 55 acres of floral show gardens, the Butchart Gardens was designed a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004. The Garden itself was originally designed by Jennie Butchart in the early 1900's as part of their private residence. The stunning beauty of the Butchart Gardens attracted so many visitors that it eventually became a famous attraction and opened to the public of which more than 1 million visitors per year currently visit.

I first visited the Butchart Gardens as a six-year-old child with my parents. The beauty struck a deep chord within me and left a lasting impression. I've since returned on two other occasions as an adult to photograph the gardens. When I think of beautiful gardens the list begins and ends with The Butchart Gardens.

Year Photographed: 2009

california poppy, golden poppies, macro, photo, photo

Goldilocks

Limited Edition of 25 Prints

I've only photographed a handful of photos with a specialized macro lens in my career but the few that I have photographed have been among my favorite flower photos. This type of photography is actually much more difficult than it looks because the depth of field is so shallow that it's nearly impossible to get any part of it in focus particularly if there is any sort of movement in the flower either due to wind or other factors. I focused my efforts on the stamen here and was fortunate to get that part in focus. One of the side benefits of a fixed length macro lens is they are among the sharpest type of lens that a photographer can buy.

Year Photographed: 2006

Tulips Basking in Sunshine at Descanso Garden, La Canada Flintridge, California, photo, photo

Tulip Time

Tulips Basking in Sunshine at Descanso Garden, La Canada Flintridge, California

Year Photographed: 2007

Blue Dicks Spring Wildflowers at The Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern County, California, photo, photo

The Wind Wolves Preserve

Blue Dicks Spring Wildflowers at The Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern County, California

With 93,000 acres of grasslands at the edge of San Joaquin Valley, the Wind Wolves Preserve, owned by The Wilderness Conservancy, is the largest non-profit reserve in the west. Winters with abundant precipitation can result in expansive fields of wildflowers as far as the eye can see.

A 20-foot rendition of this photo was produced on a sliding glass door overlay inside of bank. I've seen this art installation in person and it was incredible. Let me know if you would like to have a custom art installation like this produced for you. We can make it happen.

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