Friday, 19 February 2010

Over The Hill: Three Faces of.... Tim

I had to (kind of) break with my usual thread naming convention for this update, as the shoot presented here is part of a project by Tim Andrews. Here's Tim in his own words:


“Alright boys, this is it, over the hill” is the intro of the song “Bring on Lucie” by John Lennon and, although the phrase ‘over the hill’ has somewhat negative connotations, it is announced on the record in a very positive way by Lennon who goes on to sing ‘Do it, do it, do it, do it now!’ and so, for me, the title of this exhibition is optimistic despite the double meaning.

In May 2007, I answered an advertisement in Time Out from Graeme Montgomery, whom I know now to be an extremely talented professional photographer. He was compiling a book of nudes and wanted to photograph the first 100 people to answer the advert so I thought ‘why not?’ and went along and found that I was number one! Strangely enough, two other photographers advertised in the following two issues of Time Out, this time for people to pose for portraits, and they both photographed me subsequently. That was that for a while until, in February 2008, I answered an advert in our local newspaper from a student, Daisy Lang, who wanted to photograph people with illnesses for her final year’s project. Subsequently, I discovered that there were many photographers advertising on the Internet for models for particular projects. I wrote an email to the first photographer explaining that I was 57 and had Parkinson’s Disease and that ‘I wanted to continue on my path of being photographed by different people during the course of my illness’. Suddenly, as I wrote those words, I realised that I had my own project.

Since then, over seventy different photographers have photographed me and it has been incredibly interesting and exciting as I have seen the project develop day by day. I have met many wonderful, skilful people many of whom, normally, I would never have met let alone spent several hours with them.

It has been a fascinating journey. I have always loved photography but never had the patience or skill to practice it successfully. However, being a model has enabled me to collaborate with brilliant practitioners of the art and to be part of the artistic photographic process.

I had not discussed the proposed title of the exhibition with anyone until I met Roberto Foddai to talk about his ideas for our shoot. He produced two pieces of headgear he wanted me to wear and said that one of them had some wording on it which he felt was somewhat ironic. He turned it over and on the front were the words – ‘Over the Hill’.

Free the people, now.
Do it, do it, do it, do it now.

Tim Andrews

I did three short sets with Tim.

First up are images of Tim staring out at the denuded branches of trees in winter.

Next are a couple of simple portraits. I used mixed lighting for these - flash and modelling lights with an exposure of about 5 seconds.

Lastly there are 3 images inspired by the artwork for the BBC serialisation of Gormenghast. I wanted to do a fun fantasy set, and referencing Mervyn Peake seemed appropriate for reasons that will be obvious to anyone familiar with that great writer.


Yes, it's fast approaching!
Waddaya mean, it's been and gone - Big Brother is alive and well, thank you, and this is what he's been up to recently: BIG BRO

Not only do photographers not deserve to earn money or credit from their creations, they shouldn't really be allowed out in public at all!

If you want to do something about the Digital Economy Bill (NB not the public photography issue): PETITION

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Gone In 60 Seconds

A trip to a livestock auction site inspired me to try something a little more abstract than usual. The stark and unnatural metal of the pens, designed to contain creatures more accustomed to open grassland made me think about the unnatural restrictions we constantly impose on the world and ourselves, and our progressive retreat from nature, as we try to mould the world into something more uniform, certain and linear.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Lights and Shadows in a City of a Million

A brief update featuring some snapshots from The Smoke.
The trip was primarily a meeting between myself, Tim Andrews, and fellow Wivenhoe photographer Lindsay Wakelin, to discuss a possible shoot as part of his ongoing project 'Over The Hill', in which he is having portraits created by 100 different photographers, most famously (thus far) Rankin. Tim was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago, retired from his career as a lawyer and embarked upon this project. He also took part in Antony Gormley's Trafalgar Square plinth living art installation, where he danced to the new Madness LP for an hour:
Norton Folgate
Tim's wife is a very talented artist, and her work can be seen here:
Jane Andrews
After discussing ideas for the shoot with Tim, we took in the Photographic Portrait Competition winners at the National Portrait Gallery. It goes without saying there was some powerful work on display there, although for my money, some of the images stretched the definition of 'portraiture', including one (splendid) reportage shot and another (unspectacular) glamour shot. As always, young girls with blank expressions seemed popular with the judges.
I then detoured to the Tate Britain to catch the Turner exhibition before it closed. Wonderful to see so much work by one of my favourite artists (an influence for some of my own landscape work), but I was disappointed that the emphasis the exhibition was on Turner's competitive nature and desire to 'improve' on images by other Masters. I felt it undervalued Turner's revolutionary impact on painting.
Galleries are always a strange experience anyway. I always want the hoards of zombies with their educational headphones to vanish into thin air, leaving me the space required to truly soak in the beauty on the walls.