Sunday, 21 September 2014

AN APPRECIATION - Julia Horbaschk

OSMOSIS by Julia Horbaschk
There was a young woman 
called Julia
Whose surname was rather peculiar
It began with an H
and ended with K 
If you can pronounce it, well, Hallelujah!

Seriously, though, there is a young woman called Julia who has been assisting me with the organisation and curation of the Over the Hill exhibition at the Create Gallery as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe. I wouldn't say that I could not have done it without her help but that her help has been absolutely invaluable. She has worked tirelessly at a time when she has had a lot on her plate with moving, looking for a new job and various other activities that she tells me about but, as I don't listen, I can't tell you what they are. No, seriously, she is involved with the Arts Forum and the Big Screen on the Beach in Brighton.

Her background is marketing and this has come to the fore as she has set up an interview with BBC Radio Sussex as well as with three TV stations including BBC South. She has also secured sponsorship with Bang & Olufsen in Hove where the manager, Mike Sparkes, has been incredibly helpful by lending us two super duper televisions so that the nine films being shown at the exhibition can be seen to their full advantage. She has also arranged for 4Print & Design in Hove to produce 1,000 flyers free of charge as their contribution to the event.

She is clever, resourceful, hard working, positive, intelligent and an excellent photographer as the above image shows. 

Julia

So, Julia Horbaschk, thank you for everything!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Over the Hill comes to Brighton

BEAUTIFUL DECAY by Danielle Tunstall

Over the Hill comes to Brighton!!

56 still photographs and 8 films from my project will be exhibited as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe at Create Gallery New England House, New England Street, Brighton from 4th to 17th October next. The exhibition will feature the work of mainly Brighton based photographers although there will be a few exceptions including the stunning image shown above by Danielle Tunstall; she lives in Leamington Spa which, as we all know, is just round the corner from Brighton. Oh, alright it's not but, for God's sake, rules are there to be broken.

The exhibiting photographers are:-

KANDY ACKLAND
JOSIE AINSCOUGH
JOAN ALEXANDER
TOM ANDREWS
JANE ANDREWS
SILVIA ANGUELOVA
VALDA BAILEY
ALEX BAMFORD
NICOLA BENFORD
MAEVE BERRY
MICHAEL BIRT
STEVE BLOOM
HENRIETTA BOWDEN-JONES
ADAM BRONKHORST
STEPHANIE BROOKS
 JEAN-LUC BROUARD
HEATHER BUCKLEY
ALUN CALLENDER
MELISSA CAMPBELL
EMMA CRITCHLEY
ELEONORA D’AMBROSIO
SEB ECKSTEIN
CHRIS FRIEL
GARY GILHOOLY
STACEY HATFIELD
CLARE HEWITT
JULIA HORBASCHK
VALENTINA LARI
JACK LATHAM
JAMES MACDONALD
INNIS MCALLISTER
KENNY MCKRACKEN
GRANT MCLEAN
KEVIN MEREDITH
KIRSTY MITCHELL
JUSTYNA NERYNG
ERIN O’CONNOR
HOLLY OLIVER
CLARE PARK
TOM PETKUS
JO RENSHAW
SIMON ROBERTS
LUCA SAGE
KRISTINA SALGVICK
MARTIN SEEDS
TOBIAS SLATER-HUNT
JIM STEPHENSON
GENEVIEVE STEVENSON
JO STOWELL
JAYNE TAYLOR
JO THORNE
DANIELLE TUNSTALL
VICI WATKINS
JO WONDER
LISA WORMSLEY

And films produced by the following:-

JOAN ALEXANDER
CHRIS FLOYD
STACEY HATFIELD
CLARE HEWITT
KAREN KNORR
OSCAR LATORRE-BOSCH
ROY PETERSEN
ALISON PALMER


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

OVER THE HILL: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY

OVER THE HILL by Roberto Foddai

          
‘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 290 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 decided on "Over the Hill" as the title of the project in January 2009 but I had not discussed this with anyone until I met Roberto Foddai a few weeks later 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’.


This project is dedicated to my wife the artist, Jane Andrews, who has taught me about integrity, truth and wisdom through acts, words and deeds all of which are encompassed in her truly wonderful paintings which can be found on www.janeandrews.co.uk

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

Tim Andrews


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

FROM THE EARTH by Claire Nathan

FROM THE EARTH by Claire Nathan

I have a niece, Amy Samantha Andrews, known to me and everyone as Sammy. She is charming, pretty and kind and utterly adorable. She decided that she wanted to learn more about Photography and when she was performing at a wedding (she has the most beautiful singing voice), she went up to the photographer and asked her if she could help and advise her with regard to this new pastime. The photographer agreed to help and they became friends in the process. The photographer was Claire Nathan. 

Sammy came to visit me in hospital just after I had undergone my Deep Brain Stimulation surgery and mentioned that she knew Claire who was interested in my project and that I should contact her. I did so after looking at her website. Her portraits were very good indeed but what clinched it for me was her picture of Sammy - it captured her lovely fresh and lively attitude to life so perfectly. There then followed a series of emails to and fro with photographic and artistic references as we slowly began to create an idea of what we wanted to achieve. For me, it was the connection to Claire and for her, it was a splash of colour, of brightness to create an uplifting image in the face a some of the awful things that life can throw at us. We needed a make-up artist and Claire said that she had worked with Alice Hopkins before and that she was tremendous. 

We met at Notting Hill tube station on the morning of 13th August 2014 and she drove us  to her house where I met her charming husband, the film maker, Dan Nathan, and Alice. We chatted a fair bit but eventually got down to the make up which took a while to get on. Claire was very clear as to what she wanted and Alice was very patient as she made the final touches before the shooting began in Claire's home studio. It was a very happy shoot and we all talked about good times and bad but in a way which enabled each of us to take a few faltering steps towards a greater acceptance of our lot and to reconcile ourselves to tragic events even if we still did not yet fully accept them and understand their meaning for us. People say that I was brave to have my surgery - I wasn't brave, I had no choice. When my sister died, life carried on.

And I can feel you dreaming
And I'm dreaming of you
Together slowly drifting
Into the powder blue

You expect the world to stop but it doesn't. You have no choice but to walk through those empty dark days and hold hands with those close to you and find solace there and eventually you come through to the other side. What has this got to do with this photograph? Well, everything actually. It was part of a journey where I have walked along a path which at some point crossed another path on which Claire is travelling and there we met. And there she took this photograph which, if we hadn't met, would never have been taken and the world would not have seen this part of me or this part of Claire. It is a great photograph. I have recently uploaded a slideshow of my project onto Vimeo and this song by Madness is part of the soundtrack...... 
So can't we just stay?
Can't we just stay?
The world is giving up
And there's just me and you
Together slowly drifting into the powder blue
Into the powder blue 
Into the powder blue
Into the powder blue
Into the powder blue

WEBSITES - CLAIRE: http://clairenathan.com/
                     - ALICE: www.alicehopkins.co.uk.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

FLASH HARRY HOTSPUR by Gary Gilhooly



FLASH HARRY HOTSPUR by Gary Gilhooly

Gary is my oldest friend. My family moved form Finchley in North London down to West Wittering in Sussex in 1964 and in about 1965 or 1966, I got a job at The Harbour Chalet situated in the car park next to the beach. The Chalet sold everything from Candy Floss to Li-Los including sandwiches filled with leather (masquerading as beef) and Sun Tan Lotion. It was run by a Mr Gubb who also owned a shop selling similar goods (but not 'food') in Shore Road, East Wittering. Gary worked at The Harbour Chalet too but he also attended the same school as me, Chichester High School for Boys and I cannot remember whether we first met and became friends at the Chalet or on the Number 53 bus from Wittering to Chichester. my guess is that it was the former because he was (and still is) four years younger than me and I don't suppose I would have made friends with someone so much younger on the bus. Whatever. We had the same daft sense of humour and so we clicked and I was always disappointed when he wasn't working at the Car Park or when we didn't catch the same bus. He was (and still is) a dangerous individual. I could recount any number of silly stories of the scrapes we got into - whatever it was, we always ended up laughing our heads off whether it was climbing up the steps of Waterloo Station on our stomachs pretending we were mountaineering or singing with Manchester City supporters in a pub in Wembley after watching our team (Tottenham Hotspur) win the 1981 Cup Final Replay. It may not sound very funny to anyone else but, with 3 or 4 pints (or was it 5 or 6?) of beer inside us, it made us laugh. There are others stories involving mops on the London Underground, Table Tennis bats, Newspapers, Jane pouring beer over Gary in a pub in Kingston, a potentially disastrous delivery of manure which I won't recount here but, suffice to say, it was always silly. Apart from sharing a friendship, we also shared a love of Tottenham Hotspur FC and The Beatles with the latter generally performing better than the former. The Beatles broke up in 1970 but Spurs have had to keep going and we have supported them through thick and thin. 

Apart from being a respected and respectful doctor, Gary is also a keen amateur photographer and so I asked him if he would photograph me as part of the project. He accepted the invitation and came up with two ideas - one was too photograph me on the zebra crossing in Abbey Road which appeared on the front cover of the Beatles' album of the same name and then possibly photoshop the Fab Four into the photo. We went up there last year and took the photographs but Gary wasn't very happy with the results. The second idea was for me to dress in a Spurs kit under a raincoat and to flash my kit in and around the Arsenal ground. For the uninitiated, Arsenal and Spurs are arch rivals. So when I say that Gary is still dangerous, this is what I mean. I was certain that we would run into trouble doing this especially in the Summer when Arsenal louts would be short of opportunities of giving people in general and Spurs' supporters in particular a good kicking. 

As it turned out, we had a very pleasant day. We got off the tube at Arsenal Station and I was surprised to find ourselves in a sedate leafy suburb with not a yob in sight. We started shooting outside the entrance of Arsenal's old Highbury ground and that calmed my nerves a bit. Then we walked round to the new ground only a few minutes away. We asked the people in the Arsenal shop if they minded us taking photos and explained that I had Parkinson's and it was for a project so they would take pity on me. They were extremely friendly and slightly bemused but allowed us to do what we wanted really - s we trashed the place. We didn't actually - that was a lie. Then we walked around the ground and couldn't help admiring it and the contrast with Tottenham's less palacious ground at White Hart Lane. We then found a great statue of Tony Adams (or Donkey as he is known to Spurs supporters - I can put the boot in a bit can't I?). Actually, Adams was a great defender for both Arsenal and England and justly warranted a statue. All the more reason to flash him - which I did. Eventually, we decided to leave before we got seduced by the place and, on the way back to Victoria, we stopped off at a pub for a light lunch and two pints. 

We moved to Brighton three years ago and I love it here not least because we see more of Gary. He is married to the darling Susie - the real love of his life (sorry Spurs) and who has always tolerated our jokes. I knew his father, Robert, quite well - a great man with a hearty sense of humour but who, sadly, died many years ago now. I am very fond of his mother, Gwen, whose humour is quite dry but no less amusing and he has two lovely sisters, Jane and Joanne and two charming children, James and Emma. I love them all.

I am very lucky to have met Gary and very proud to call him my friend. I would not presume to say that he feels the same about me but if he doesn't, I'll buy him a pint and change his mind. So, this is a very special photograph taken by a very special man and, in the words of Michael Palin at George Harrison's Memorial Concert, a man so overwhelming special that in his epic and superhuman specialness he surely transcends all previous specialnesses. Oh, I didn't want to write this....I wanted to be.....a LUMBERJACK!!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

UNDER THE PIER by Cat Lane



Under the Pier by Cat Lane

The wind blew cold that day,
Under the pier.
Not with a winter's chill when leaves have dropped,
Leaving wiry arms and fingers,
Black against the grey sky.
No, the cold of a place where the sun cannot penetrate.
An underworld.
Nervous in front of those who also sought shelter from the sun,
You reassured me with
sincerity,
earnestness,
knowledge,
confidence.
We had eaten together earlier.
You were nervous this time, this first time.
We talked in a desire to understand, to calm, to reveal.
We each brought tears to our eyes
But not sad enough to fall.
You cried again later when we parted in the street.
You sobbed,
The emotion of the day, our meeting, poured out
I clasped you to my chest and told you that it was all right
Two people,
strangers before that day. 
The day the wind blew cold,
Under the pier.





Saturday, 12 July 2014

WHO DID I MEET? by Natalie Adlard

WHO DID I MEET? by Natalie Adlard

Who did I meet? I met Natalie when I went to Nottingham to be photographed by Ellen Chamberlain. Ellen had asked if I minded her bringing along a friend and I said no because I didn't and also because Ellen had already said that she was quite shy and I was aware that she probably needed some support. I wondered before when requests of this nature were put to me whether the attendance on a shoot by a friend might in some way impinge on my relationship with the photographer but I have found that, in practice, that has never happened and maybe that is because the photographer is more relaxed as a consequence.


Natalie and Ellen are clearly enjoy a very close and strong friendship and, when I asked Ellen if she minded if I asked Natalie to be part of my project, she immediately said that she didn't which very much shows  the strength of the bond which exists between them. Natalie was quite quiet during the shoot as clearly she was intent on and content to take a back seat because, after all, it was Ellen's shoot. Nevertheless, I was very impressed by the photographs she sent me afterwards especially this one which stood from a collection of very good work. It is rich and clear and, unusually has captured my smile which does not appear in many of my photographs.

So, here we are - a photograph by Natalie Adlard - totally unexpected but a great addition to my project. Natalie is just starting out on a Photography career and, in my opinion, if she keeps up this sort of work, she will be very successful.


AN OLD NEW LEAF by Ellen Chamberlain

AN OLD NEW LEAF by Ellen Chamberlain

Sometimes, I trawl through Flickr and see what I can see. I look at someone's work which I particularly like and then go on to their favourites and then find someone else and go on to their favourites and then I find a photograph  that has something for me and I look up the photostream of the photographer and get an idea of what they are about. One day, not so long ago, I found the photography of Ellen in this way. I thought it was exceptionally good and I wrote and told her so. She replied the next day, saying that she had heard of my project and was pleased to be asked to partake but pointed out that she was a shy person and had never before photographed anyone she didn't know. I suggested that we could meet before the shoot to get to know each other but, when Ellen told me she lived in Nottingham, I scrubbed that idea. She asked if she could bring a friend.

The day of the shoot was very warm. I enjoyed the train journey as I always do and I nodded off from time to time. I arrived in Nottingham and met Ellen. She was very young and slightly ill at ease - her friend Nathalie stood by awkwardly. But the day slowly unravelled before us and we began our stroll through Nottingham Town Centre which could be any town centre in any English town - Primark, Top Shop, Boots, Millie's Cookies etc, etc - it is a shame when such historic towns all look the same. We headed for the Castle and stopped for me to pose for some pictures there. Then we had a drink in the oldest inn in England and we chatted but none of us were fully relaxed. Eventually, we reached a small area of grass and we sat down under some trees and I think our more relaxed body language made the difference and we began talking more meaningfully about things and making jokes. Ellen has a lovely accent - I don't know what you would call it - a Midlands accent, I suppose - she thought mine was posh. I know I have said this so many times before but the most marvellous aspect of this project is that I communicate on a certain level with people so much younger than I am, who live such different lives and yet we are brought together by this common love of Photography and what it can do. This photograph was taken as we sat on the grass and well, it is a great photograph. The leaf is the representative of the other leaves on the ground and on the trees which provided shelter from the sun and something for us to twiddle with as we talked. It always helps to have a leaf to twiddle when you are getting to know someone. 


It was time to leave and so we made our way back to the station and said our goodbyes. I was very touched when Ellen said "I know this is weird but can I give you a hug?" - it was the nicest hug. 

She wrote soon afterwards with a collection of photographs from the day but I knew that it would one of those taken as we all sat on the grass that I would like the best and that is how it turned out. I have turned over a new leaf - I liked the old leaf but the new leaf is better.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

SELF PORTRAIT, BRIGHTON, 8 JULY 2014, 6.03AM by Simon Roberts

SELF PORTRAIT, BRIGHTON, 8 JULY 2014, 6.03AM by Simon Roberts
All good things come to those who wait. I wrote to Simon on 13th March 2010 and, sure enough over four years later, we met on Brighton beach for him to photograph me. Actually, it is likely that that first email in 2010 fell into his Spam and he never read it. Having in the meantime moved to Brighton, I started to hear more about Simon and not surprisingly because he is a very good and a very successful photographer. I have learned that the two do not always go together but, in Simon's case, they most certainly do. 

Anyway, fast forward to 2013 when I wrote again and this time he replied saying that photographing me was an "intriguing proposition" and asking me to give him a flavour of the other photographs that had been taken. I duly sent him a link to this Blog and also a link to the video of The Culture Show that had featured my project when broadcast in 2011. However, Simon is a busy man, understandably, and it wasn't until early 2014 that we finally met to chat about the shoot. It was then that Simon revealed his idea which was to photograph me photographing myself. He thought we should try the beach and maybe somewhere else but, as it happened, I took my own self portrait on the apron to the short brick pier near the bandstand and sent a copy to Simon and he agreed that that was where we should have our shoot. 

Finally, we met there on 8th July at about 5.30am. As he requested, I brought my Rolleiflex with me and my tripod and remote shutter release. As I know nothing about cameras, Simon very kindly agreed to set up my shots and, as I posed for my self portraits, he took his photographs. We must have spent about an hour doing this from various angles until Simon said that was it. 

I then received  this one photograph and, of course, it is brilliant and will have pride of place at the show at the Create Gallery in October along with, at Simon's suggestion, the contact sheet of the photographs I took that day, some of which didn't come out too badly. But when you have one of the great photographers helping out, what do you expect?


Simon is a very nice guy. He is quite serious, particularly about his work but he has a warmth and a little twinkle in his eye which shine through when you get to know him. And he is an excellent photographer. How do we know this? Well, look at this photograph - it is full of movement; my pose and the contrasting slow swell of the sea beyond which also provides the perfect backdrop. The colours are beautifully light, the silver blue of the water, the yellow buoy, the paler blue of the sky, the rich green algae on the sandstone pier, my skin made ruddy by the sun and the wind, all combine to produce a gentle kaleidoscope of different hues that melt together to give us image that is like a magic potion poured over the page. Delicious.

WEBSITE: http://simoncroberts.com/

Thursday, 3 July 2014

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS by Nicola Benford

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS by Nicola Benford
It was with the proposed show at Create Gallery in mind that I made contact with Nicola as I thought she was still based in Brighton having initially seen her work mentioned on the University website. However, having seen the quality of her work, I also knew that she was a very exciting prospect. So, I wrote to her in December 2013 and she replied that, as she was working full-time, she wouldn't be able to shoot me just yet but she did look forward to working with me.

Eventually, we started making firm arrangements for the shoot and she asked if I has anything bright and breezy to wear. I had just come out of hospital having had my Deep Brain Stimulation surgery and, whilst I was in there, my darling brother had bought me this dressing gown made of pure silk - Nicola thought it was perfect. By now she was living in London but her parents brought her down with all her equipment and she looked through the house for a suitable spot and we tried some in our sitting room with me lying on our chaise-longue whilst listening to random selections from my 45 vinyl record collection but eventually we ended up in the room with the half-painted walls. She thought the white paint looked like clouds. At one point I dug out these glasses which I wear when I play Roger A Destroyer in my silly films and it was because of the glasses that I chose this particular image. I thought the brown frames provided just the right contrast with the other luscious colours in the shot. 

Nicola was a delightful companion during the shoot and I was pleased that she was using her Japanese Bronica camera because there is something about them that is so reassuring. Not only do they make this wonderfully solid clunking sound when the photograph is taken, but also the results are so rich and deep. As I have said many times, I know nothing about cameras but I thought it was a reasonable guess at the outset of the project that about 90% of the photographers would use digital but in fact it must be about 50/50. 

Nicola is a superb photographer and I was not disappointed when I received the photographs - they show what talent she possesses and that she will go far in her chosen profession. As with all talented young artists, she needs that lucky break but that will not be enough. She also needs to persevere and keep learning but having spent a few hours with her, I have no worries on that score.

WEBSITE:http://www.nicolabenford.co.uk/

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

TIM ANDREWS SHADOW PORTRAIT; EMBASSY COURT, EAST SIDE, SOLAR NOON by Joan Alexander

SHADOWS by Joan Alexander


I hear Jane creep into the bedroom but I drift back to sleep for about half an hour. I haul myself up and swing my legs over the side of the bed and stagger to the door hoping that I do not freeze on the way. I go to the loo on the next floor down to avoid making a noise and waking Jane. As usual, I back into the loo and then slowly sit down. After I finish, I hold the sides of the door frame and pull myself up and then edge round to the basin and wash my hands. I turn slowly, a few inches at a time and take a deep breath and step out onto the landing. I mimic a side step past the door and slowly walk back up stairs to the spare room. On the way in, I switch on the light and sit on the side of the bed. I pick up the notepad on the floor and begin to write..... 

Darkness

Go to sleep my darling
And let me wander through the night,
Looking for the answers,
Looking for what is right.

Allow me to stumble
Upon your dreams both dark and bright,
Then leave me on my own,
To wander through the night.

I have seen what is wrong,
As it changed me in your eyes,
I have seen all too clearly,
The sweet and bitter prize.

So when you awake
From your travels both far and near,
Call me, my darling,
Overcome your fear.

The fear of failing
To understand the black and the white,
The fear of looking,
And finding what is right.

Go to sleep my darling.
Fear not, I know now what is right.
It is you, my love,
You, you are my light.

I put down the pad and gear myself to turn out the light and, as I stretch over to the wall, I notice with fascination the shadow of my tremulous hand reaching for the switch..... 

So there I was face down on a massage table and luxuriating in a Lomi Lomi massage being given to me by Rosalie Mamet in Hove and, afterwards, I mentioned my Photographic project and she said that she knew a very good photographer called Joan Alexander. So, on 10th June 2012, I wrote to Joan asking if she would photograph me having seen her great work on her website. She replied saying she was interested in proceeding but that it would not be until November because of other commitments. She then got lost in the the dark hole that is my inbox but, thankfully, she wrote to me 15 months later re-introducing herself. We met and talked about her work with shadows and I told her of my idea of filming my shaking shadow when I got up during the night to go to the loo. 

Eventually, we set a date for the filming and agreed to postpone the still shadow photographs until the warmer weather in the spring/summer as we planned to photograph outside on the balcony of the top floor of Embassy Court on the front in Brighton. The filming went well but I shall tell you more about that, dear readers, after the film has been edited. Eventually, Joan and I visited Embassy Court on an extremely windy day and it all looked good. We set it all up with help from a very pleasant woman there and then on a hot day in June, I arrived at Embassy Court and Joan met me at the door and took me up to the roof terrace. Her idea was to create a shadow portrait based on the process of her shadow dial pictures which I had seen on her website. Using natural sunlight, she intended to trace my shadow on a wall over a period of of 1 to 2 hours, every 5 or 10 minutes. She would trace it on to tracing paper so we had a chart of my shadow profile over this measured period of time which would then be re-photographed on a window. They would become primal clocks and quasi sun dials, the final tracings are called Shadow Maps. Joan had never made a shadow map with a human profile before and so l was very proud indeed.


The shoot was fun and we had a very pleasant lunch afterwards. The shadows had not worked particularly well and so we had another session earlier in the day and we got better tracings although the paper misbehaved. Throughout the shoot, Joan took photographs of me of this was one. I adore this shot. It speaks to me of the heat of the day, the beautiful views of the beach and the great relationship I was gradually building up with Joan. She is so nice with a soft Irish lilt to her voice and an infectious smile and sense of humour to match. But she is also an intelligent artist with a strong desire to experiment and to collaborate. 




Tuesday, 20 May 2014

CADBURY'S DAIRY MILK by Robert Ludlow

CADBURY'S DAIRY MILK by Robert Ludlow
18th May 2014 – my birthday and I wake up feeling not very good because not only am I going into The National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery in London today for my Deep Brain Stimulation surgery but also, over the last ten days, I have had to reduce my dosage of one of my drugs to nil in order to make it less likely that I feel psychotic once I have been ‘’turned on”. I struggle downstairs and open my presents and cards. Everyone has been so kind but none more so than Jane whose birthday it was the day before. She has been amazing in the face of what has been an incredibly worrying time for her. I mean she went through it all before when I was first diagnosed, then she had to go through it again when, suddenly, I became Superman after going on the drugs. But this was different – it was a bloody brain operation.

My twin sister, Sally, came over having recently lost her husband and so she wasn’t feeling great either but I’m afraid that, by the time her two lovely children arrived, I had had it and just wanted to get going to the hospital which had telephoned quite early on to confirm that they had a bed and expected me late afternoon. We drove up and got there about six pm but I was so bad that Jane had to help swing my legs around so that I could stand up out of the car. She asked this big guy called Abraham if he could help. His wife worked at the hospital and he went in search of a wheel chair, found it, plonked me in it and then pushed me in; one of many acts of kindness shown to me over the next two weeks. I have to say, however, that apart from all this spazziness, I was in quite good spirits.

Jane took me up to Lady Anne ward guided by a nursing assistant called Jeff whom was going there himself as it happened. I never saw Jeff again during my stay there but I won’t forget him. I had already decided to give myself up to the nursing staff and just allow myself to be looked after. I was put in a side room off the ward and assumed that I would not be there all the time during my stay but in fact I was. Lucky Tim they call me.

Jane was brilliant because she said to me that evening,  “Why are you doing this?” and I was able to justify my decision to her and myself. It wasn’t difficult. I said that I was doing it because, in six month’s time, I did not want to be six month’s worse than I was now. For example, I went to lunch with Jane and her sister and her friend Jo, the day before. I was fine on the way there but I stayed too long and I could hardly walk out of the restaurant at the end, let alone walk home. My main problem is “freezing” where my brain would go to the door but my feet would stay where there were as if they had forgotten how to move. Sometimes, it took me about 45 minutes (or more) to get undressed for bed. I couldn’t turn over in bed – I couldn’t sleep if I started shaking as my head hit the pillow – my whole body but especially my neck would go into spasm. If anyone knocked the door I would struggle towards it, yelling, ”I’m coming, I’m coming” only for the person to walk off before I got there. I’m not looking for sympathy by the way; I am just explaining why the decision to go ahead with DBS was a……no brainer.

That night, I slept on my back but half way through the night, I tried to get up but couldn’t. Eventually, I rang the bell and a nurse called Joanna came in and helped move my legs and my arms so that I could struggle to the loo. She was so kind and gentle. It meant everything.

Oh, angel of the night,
I did not want you
But you answered my call
In the darkest of dark blue.

Joanna;
You told me your name.
You moved my legs, you moved my arms
I did not call you again.

The morning sun throws shadows
Outside on the cool brick walls;
The sounds of the city awakening
Mingle with the footsteps in the halls.

No birdsong here today
Only the incessant bleeps
Perhaps I shall just lie back
And drift into a sleep

Oh, angel of the night
Pray for me in my bower;
Cometh the man into your embrace;
Cometh the hour.

It was also the first time I met Chris, the Aussie night nurse, who, over the next few days, I got to know and like a lot. We talked a bit about cricket and I mentioned that I was a member of the MCC and suggested that he might want to come to Lord’s one day as my guest. Initially, he seemed unenthusiastic but I think this was because he had been caught out before by a patient who had done him a favour and somehow that had created a difficult situation for him. During the next day, I saw Dr Hyam, Mr Zrinzo’s registrar and Joseph, the Parkinson’s nurse and the anaesthetist whose name I regret that I have forgotten. Hyam asked me to sign the consent form for the operation which referred to the various risks including “risk to life” – gulp. I told the anaesthetist about my photographic project and asked if there was anyone who could take my photograph with the cage on my head through which they would guide the electrodes. She was brilliant because, in the end, she arranged for the hospital photographic department to send someone down to do it properly. That someone happened to be Robert Ludlow who, in 2012, won the prestigious Wellcome Images Award for his photograph of the human brain during a surgical procedure for epilepsy. He is my 300th photographer. 

My brother, Anthony (officially, the kindest man on the planet) came to see me later but I was very shaky indeed and pushed my self too far by showing him two of my films. I was grateful that he had come but he knew I was tired and left and I was relieved when he did because I was basically exhausted not by him but by me and my condition.

Then  - 20th May 2014 – D Day or rather DBS Day. During the early morning, I listened to my iPod shuffle and almost every song reminded me of someone or something and made me quite emotional. Then Jane arrived quite early and it was so lovely to see her. I said that perhaps we should agree that I would say something to her after the operation so that she knew that my brain was all right and, after toying with several ideas including lines from plays I had done, Jane suggested “Cadbury’s Dairy Milk” and we agreed on that.


I was given a gown to put on and some paper pants and DVT socks and so I was all ready to go by the time Jane returned from her trip downstairs for a coffee. Hugo, the porter came down for me and took me to the MRI scanning room where the operating theatre was. I was placed on the bed and the anaesthetist asked me my name “Timothy Andrews” and my date of birth “18th May 1951” and then said “You have consented to have Stage one of a sub thalamic Deep Brian Stimulation” and I said “What?!?” as if I didn’t know. Well it made me laugh. At that point Jane left me and, what seemed like five minutes later, I woke up in the Recovery Room absolutely full of myself cracking what I thought were the funniest jokes and generally getting on everyone’s nerves I’m sure.  Jane who had been having kittens upstairs had come down and met two nurses in the lift who had been assisting at the operation and when she asked how it had gone, she could tell from their smiles it was ok  They couldn’t let her into the recovery room however because there was another guy in there who hadn’t yet woken up. I think Joseph, the Parkinson’s Nurse, was there and said that he was going up to tell Jane that I was ok and I asked him to tell her that I had said “Cadbury’s Dairy Milk”. He called Jane on her phone and when she asked how I was, he mentioned Cadbury’s and so Jane knew for sure that I had come through it with brain (and me) intact.

I met Robert when I returned to Queen Square to have the stitches removed from my chest where they had inserted the Patient Programmer and I received the photographs from him a few days later. I have to say that, although they were taken before the actual surgery began, they make for very uncomfortable viewing but actually this was the one which impressed me most. It is so peaceful and is wonderfully composed. It says so much to me about the love and care that all the people in that hospital bestow on their patients. I shall never forget them all or my time there. They are a credit to themselves, their respective professions and the NHS. 

So, thank you Robert, Abraham, Jeff, Jack, Hugo, Paolo, Ludvic Zrinzo, Jon Hyam, Sammy Jo, Hazel, Moses, Ibrahim, Ade, Joanna, Julia, Joseph, Consuelo, Maris, Tim the King, Annette, Chris, Erla, Jean, Dafina, Timothy, Clare, Sheryl, Varndir, Akaysha, Catherine, Vaughan, Nyasha, Juliana, Alberto, Debbie, Sabirah, Cherito, Amy, Alice, Tola, Elvira, Purita, Michael, Hajni and Alfredo who nursed me, fed me, cleaned my room, took my pulse and blood pressure and temperature, made my bed, (in Robert's case) took my photograph and generally and genuinely cared for me and any others whose names I may have forgotten but whose love and mercy I have not.

But and it is a big BUT, I reserve the greatest praise for Jane whose love and devotion meant so much to me. People have said some very kind things about me but I could not have dealt with it in the way I did without that love and devotion. Lucky Tim - it doesn't even come close.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

299!

299!!

Yep, I have been photographed by 299 photographers since May 2007 and it has been a wonderfully dizzy ride of emotion, love, companionship, creativity and artist excellence.

Thank you to all 299 of you for all that you have contributed by way of your time, patience, indulgence and talent.

Please see latest slideshow - https://vimeo.com/95586370 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

AMONG GIANTS by André Varela

AMONG GIANTS by Andre Varela

I have just watched on You Tube a lecture by John Cleese about Creativity. I always find it difficult to precis something I have just read or seen but I'll have a bash. One of the things Cleese said is that Creativity is not a talent but is very much related to an ability to behave like a child and to play. One either has a 'closed' mind at any given moment or time or an 'open' mind. When your mind is open you are able to be creative. Well, one day, my open mind looked at Flickr and saw Andre's work and it thought "Yeah, I could really work with this guy". Andre's open mind responded and he replied to my message on Flickr saying that he lived in Portugal and that he would like to come over to England with his partner, Catarina, as his assistant, and take my photograph. And so it was that eventually three open minds met at Gatwick Airport and they did not close until Andre and Catarina returned home three days later.

Andre is one of the most receptive, enthusiastic and open people I have ever met. In addition he is handsome, personable and kind. He is also a very, very good photographer. Yes, I know that I say that a lot and what do I know? I'm not a photographer and I have no idea how cameras work but I do have an opinion as every one does and in my humble opinion, he has a huge talent. Initially, he wanted me to find some locations in forests or on beaches. However, on the day of the shoot, I decided first to take them up to The Devil's Dyke and he was absolutely captivated by its beauty and magic as well as the amazing views. And it was there that this shot was taken. Afterwards, we tried more shots up there and then went to the beach and did some more. Then we returned to my house and did some more. We could have carried on through the night. 

UNFORGIVEN by Andre Varela

In between all this, gradually, I got to know him and Catarina. They were originally going to stay with us but that wasn't possible  because we had a full house so Joan Alexander, another wonderful photographer and human being, said that her friend, Martin Seeds, another wonderful photographer and human being (is there no end to this?) had a spare room and would be able to accommodate them. So, it was because of Andre and Catarina, that I met Martin - I might have met him anyway but later rather than sooner. I went round to his place to chat about it and to collect a key to give to Andre and Catarina and spent a good hour or so enjoying his very entertaining and erudite company. More on this in a future blog post - back to Andre and Catarina. 

I collected them at Gatwick and I knew everything was going to work out well because my drive up the the motorway went well and the drive back went even better. I hadn't driven on a motorway for quite a while. On the way back to Brighton, we chatted in the car and, by the time we arrived, not only were we firm friends but they had already fallen in love with England (it was their first visit) and Brighton in particular. I took them to Martin's place and they all got on like a house on fire and later Jane and I had supper with them in the Lion & Lobster and it was talk, talk talk all evening. They were falling in love with Brighton and I was falling in love with them. I couldn't see them the next day; their original plan was to go to London for the day but they ditched that and spent the day in Brighton which they thoroughly enjoyed.


I said goodbye on the evening of the shoot and left them to find somewhere to eat. I gave each of them a hug and they responded with their Portuguese version and I felt sad that they were leaving. However, the following morning, I got up really early to see if I could catch them before they left and amazingly, they had got lost on the way from Martin's place to the railway station and, when I saw them floundering about in the road, I shouted out and they gratefully clambered into my car and I drove them to catch their train. I stood and watched as they walked up the platform and got into the carriage. They were gone. I sighed and turned away. I had a spring in my step as I did so and, as I skipped back to the car, I felt incredibly fortunate to be the person I am, doing the things that I do and meeting the people I meet.


I received the photographs very shortly afterwards. I'm sure that any decent photographer could take something similar but these were very special for two reasons. First, they were magnificent in their breadth and vision and secondly, they captured all the emotion that the three of us were feeling as we worked together. I was very moved by them because of this. I liked them all but this was the obvious choice to represent Andre in my project. Whenever I look at it, all I can think of is a beautiful couple, Andre and Catarina, at home in Portugal perhaps thinking of the time they came to England to see me and maybe, just maybe, we smile at the same time with the same amount of love in our hearts.  

Andre and me



Monday, 5 May 2014

CUPID'S BOW by Clare Park

CUPID'S BOW by ClarePark


I first met Clare just over three years ago when I attended a Private View of a series of her photographs of Buz Williams, a guy who also has Parkinson's Disease. The photographs I saw that evening were technically brilliant. Beautifully clear and sharp and vibrant. She said hello when I went up to her and I could see her sizing me up but, unlike most people in that situation, her mind was not elsewhere. She looked at me - I mean, she really looked at me and took me in. I could not wait to work with her. Since then, she has become a great friend and it is difficult to remember how it used to be but I think we were friends from the moment we met. 

Since 2011, she has photographed me a number of times and this shot is one of the last of a long line of amazing images which she has produced. How does she do it? Well, as I have already said, she is technically very adept. But there is so much more than that - it goes so deep. She is a supreme artist, she is grounded, she is a poet and she is a dancer who moves and speaks with grace and beauty. No words are wasted, no gestures are meaningless, no smile is false. 

This is one of the few times when I have included in my project a second photograph by a photographer but quite honestly every photograph of me by Clare should be included.

Of this photograph, the full title of which is 'Cupid's Bow: Nerve Endings and Nerve Beginnings', she writes "Tim's photographic experiences in making ‘Over the Hill’ have usually been solo interludes with many different photographers. As his project took shape, I increasingly thought about capturing in some subtle way Tim’s constant, his scaffold, his love...his effervescent wife Jane. In my mind’s eye the picture was meant to honour this bond between husband and wife. On May 5th 2014 we translated my idea and for that short moment I was a fellow traveller in their extraordinary journey together..."

She is Clare - my friend, my chronicler, my surprise.

Confrontation (2011)
Mummy (2013)
Feeling the Light (2013)



THE ANSWER by Sara Gaynor

THE ANSWER by Sara Gaynor

I read a letter. In the Black & White photography magazine. I cannot remember what it said but it must have moved me in some way because I looked up the writer's work on her website. It was beautiful. I contacted the writer whose name was Sara Gaynor. I asked her to photograph me. She said yes. A few weeks and several emails later she came up with the idea of water and asked if we could do the shoot at Highgate Ponds. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that the photograph above doesn't look anything like Highgate Ponds. You're right. I doesn't. It isn't. It's a beach at Southwick near Brighton. I had an aunt who lived in Southwick years ago. Her name was Auntie May. She was married to Uncle Bert. I remember playing on their carpet with a small metal train. Auntie May was my father's sister. He died when I was two. My mother wanted to buy a house made out of a railway carriage in East Wittering in Sussex but needed a mortgage. She could not get a mortgage without a guarantor. She asked Uncle Bert if he would act as Guarantor. He went to look at the house but he was not impressed. So he refused. I don't think my mother ever forgave him. She never said so in so many words but she often used to tell the story about Uncle Bert and the Railway Carriage House. 




Back to the main story. I met Sara. She  came too Brighton. We went to the beach at Southwick. I took off my clothes. I lay on the sand. I lay in the water. I lay on the sand again half in the water and half out. I pretended to fly like Superman. Then Sara suddenly produced this piece of material. She asked me  to stand facing the sea. The material was blowing in the wind. And there was the answer, my friend. It was blowing in the wind. This was the first photograph Sara sent to me. She did not need to send any more. There I am. Facing the sea that I love so much. That is the answer to everything. Love. I love the sea. I love Sara. I love my family. I love Jane. I love my friends. I love my photographers. I love the feel of the sand below my bare feet. I love my life. I love this photograph.



How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind



Saturday, 3 May 2014

VAULT OF METAMORPHOSIS

CHILDHOOD LOST III by Justyna Neryng

Four years ago, I travelled down from my then home in Surrey to work with a photographer whom I had not met previously but whose work had completely captivated me from the first time I saw it on Flickr. Her name was Justyna Neryng. She had a few ideas for the shoot some of which involved me wearing an old vest and rubbing dirt over my face and shoulders. I washed this off and smarmed back my hair in the process and left it like that for the next shot; this time she wanted me to cry but when I explained that I had never been able to cry to order, she said not to worry as she had some glycerene. However, as she began to set the shot up, I began to feel a tear coming to my eye. I wasn't feeling emotional nor was I trying think sad thoughts - it was just coming. Justyna quickly finished her preparations and, just as the tear rolled down my cheek, 'click' went the shutter and we got the shot. It was a piece of magic.

And if you want to experience something similarly magical, I would urge you to make your way to Powis Street Studio to see Justyna's latest work alongside that of photographers, Tobias Slater-Hunt and Chris Bulezuik, costumier Chrissie Nicholson-Wild, stylist Zoe Della Rocca and film maker Zoe Van Spyk. These wonderful artists have combined to produce what they describe as ''a dynamic visual exploration of the complex transformation of the body. 

Tobias Slater-Jones (who recently became the 294th photographer to shoot me as part of my own project) displays his amazing nude studies from the ''Closer to God'' series whilst Chris Bulezuik's series of portraits called "Mother" include some simply gorgeous representations of womanhood. 

CLOSER TO GOD XXV1 by Tobias Slater-Hunt
And, as for Justyna, well the ''Childhood Lost'' collection is a stunning example of the wizardry which she produces in her studio with her talented and delightful daughter, Nell, who acts as her model. However, it is ''Ghost Dance IV'' that blows me away. The wonderful light and tone and the trailing hair which runs from one figure to the other. It is so beautiful, it makes me want to cry, with real emotion this time. 

The exhibition is open every weekend during Brighton Fringe Festival until 1st June next. Get down there as soon as you can. It is a very special experience. 

VAULT OF METAMORPHOSIS is at The Basement, Powis Street Studio, 4 Powis Street, Brighton BN1 3HJ.

WEBSITES: JustynaNeryng - http://justynaneryng.co.uk/
                      Tobias Slater-Hunt - www.tobiasslaterhunt.co.uk
                      Chris Bulezuik - http://www.chrisbulezuik.co.uk/