Care of Ward 81.
Photographs and text by Bill Diodato. Foreword by Mary Ellen Mark.
Golden Section Publishing, 2010. 64 pp., 46 color and black & white illustrations., 10×6½”.
This is Bill’s first monograph. Care of Ward 81 is the first of two books on the subject. Located at the Oregon State Mental Hospital (the hospital where One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed in 1976), Ward 81 was set up as a psychiatric ward to help women in need by providing them with medical attention and isolation.
From the Introduction by Bill Diodato:
“…. Entering Ward 81, I found each room vibrated with pastel colors, some walls even adorned with curiously upbeat art from the patients. All this beauty was contrasted with a dense chalky air, earthy odor and constant crackling of debris beneath my feet….In the end, I can’t say where exactly the many sleepless nights I spent pondering what happened to the women of Ward 81 have taken me. I simply do not know. If, by chance, it helps even just one woman and her family, I rest my head with a renewed sense of hope.”- Bill Diodato
About the Limited Editions:
Care of Ward 81 is available in a first edition of 1,000 copies and 200 are still available for $50.
Care of Ward 81 is also available in a signed, numbered and slipcased edition of 100 with both the book and the slipcase bound in Japanese Saifu cloth. ($250)
The deluxe edition of 50 comes with a print, and is also signed by Bill and Mary Ellen Mark, numbered, and slipcased with both the book and slipcase bound in Japanese Saifu cloth. The deluxe edition print of 50 included with the Deluxe Edition is a pigment print on the archival Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta paper. This image is printed with the finest archival inks available on the market today. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. ($500)
From the Foreword by Mary Ellen Mark:
‘It’s painful for me to look at these pictures. They evoke feelings of life and death. I can hear the sounds of women running through hallways and someone shouting, “Meds, meds, come and get your meds.” I can hear the crying of a woman being locked down in restraints. I can hear the music of the jukebox at the once-a-week dance with the women of Ward 81. Bill’s book brings me back to the haunted cell in which I slept in a deserted ward right next to Ward 81. I swear I heard people walking above me all night. Bill’s images confirm the feeling that I always had—that Ward 81 was and still is inhabited by many ghosts. ‘-Mary Ellen Mark, 2010
From Timothy White’s Review in Resource Magazine
“The images in Ward 81 are at once as haunting as they are beautiful. One is drawn inside, as if by some ethereal being. Although I am troubled that this place exists, I am also attracted by its textured, desolate space. Bill Diodato’s photographs capture the stories imbedded in these walls. The empty rooms continue to narrate the stories of the women who once lived here. As uncomfortable as the reality of this place is, I cannot help but conjure its smells, feel the light, and sense the many people and the complex histories that crossed though these hallways and rooms.
Bill has touched a nerve. At first glance you only see the starkness and fear, but upon closer inspection you are taken into a soft, beautiful, pastel world. I truly enjoyed this book. I like Bill’s sense of investigation – I can feel him peering around corners and opening doors. There is an overall palette that is consistent, and that take us on an emotional ride though his experience. This is not a book to glance though. This is a book to study, to feel, and let your mind imagine.”