Monday, 17 December 2012


Erin was recommended to me by Lisa Wormsley when I asked Lisa if she could suggest any other photographers in Brighton for my project as we were just about to move there in 2011. I contacted Erin via her Flickr page in February 2011 and she answered fairly positively in that she suggested that we meet and have a chat about my project which she had seen featured on The Culture Show on BBC TV. However, before that happened I had a bit of a blip and informed the world that I had decided to end my project because I found the whole thing too exhausting and I needed to prioritise things in my life especially as we were just  about to complete our move to a new house in Brighton which needed a lot of work doing to it. I was so touched by the responses I received from all these photographers most of whom I had not yet met including Erin who wrote the kindest email in response to my rather plaintive cry. As a consequence of receiving those messages, I decided that I would re-assess everything once the house move was completed. So, it was all back on but it took me a while to get round to contacting Erin again which I did in August 2012. We met at her house and, after talking with her for about an hour, I remember coming away with a spring in my step. 

We had a further meeting to discuss a change in her idea for the shoot. Originally, it was going to  involve water somehow but Erin felt, with some justification, that that was fraught with potential
problems and so we agreed on - actually, I cannot remember exactly what we did agree on but I know that I was up for it! It is strange but often photographers come up with some stunning ideas when we meet but if you were to ask me the next day what we had discussed, I probably wouldn't recall much about it at all. I wonder why that is? 

Anyway, eventually, we set up a date for the shoot at some studios in Brighton and Erin said that she would have some footless tights for me to wear. I met her and her assistant, James, in the studio which was white and bright. She explained that we would try the white tights first (I had also brought some bright purple ones which we never used, thankfully) and then we would do some nude shoots. James had a huge fan and I donned the tights and arabesqued my way across the floor of the studio and took up my position with a piece of white silk which I twirled and threw into the air so that it was caught by the air from the fan. I then discarded the tights and we did some nude shots. Erin asked if I wanted to try anything else and, stupidly, I did a few jumps and paid for that later when my hip began to ache  - I must learn to stop throwing myself about.

After the shoot ended, I got dressed and said goodbye to James. Erin walked me to the door of the building where we said goodbye. I walked out into the bright sun and got into my car and put on the CD player really loud and it played "La Luna" by Madness and I was smiling in my heart as I drove home singing all the way.

This had been a very satisfying shoot - one of the very best. I think this was because of the connection with Erin. I saw a different Erin in the studio or rather, a different side to her. She was resourceful, in charge, confident and pretty. I wrote and told her all this and she understood and agreed that the shoot was very satisfying from her end as well. She felt that we were all well prepared and had a common vision and so it felt effortless and she was very pleased that I felt the same way. Although I was her first nude, she said that she didn't prepare for that in any way whatsoever apart from thinking about making skin look authentic; she explained that she liked skin tones very much as they are all so unique. As for the images, well, I was not at all disappointed when I received them.  They were beautifully presented and it was a tough choice between the one I chose (above) for my project and the others. Erin was torn too but felt this was the best overall.

Erin is a lovely person and the more one gets to know her, the lovelier she becomes and that infuses her photographs with a freshness and a vitality that is wonderful to share. She is a thoughtful person too and takes her photography very seriously and that shows in these marvellous images of which I am very pleased and very proud.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

HELLO, GOODBYE by Alexandro Pelaez

HELLO, GOODBYE by Alexandro Pelaez

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello, hello

These are the opening words of The Beatles' song, ''Hello, Goodbye'' written and sung by Paul. The lyrics do not seem to say much and the story goes that John was not too pleased that his masterful ''I am the Walrus'' was relegated to Side B of the new single. Nevertheless, as with many things, what seems to be simple is quite complex, in fact. Either way, the song is uplifting and it makes you want to sing along so what more could you want?

The shoot with Alexandro was quite different from other more recent shoots I have been on. The plan was simple, the execution quick and there seemed to me anyway, no doubts as to the outcome. 

I came across a site called ''Independent London Photographers'' and I browsed through it to see if anything caught my eye and the images displayed by Alexandro certainly did. They were also quite simple; there seemed to be no tricksy lighting or post production but there was a beautiful clarity and a directness that enabled the viewer to look the model in the eye and communicate.

Alexandro was very interested in working with me and we arranged a time for the shoot quite quickly. And so it was on 22nd November 2012, that I arrived early in Hollywood Road in Chelsea and so I strolled up and down the street for a while and noticed Brinkley's Restaurant opposite the address I had been given and my mind went back to 2003 when I met two friends from the Hoffman Process, a sort of self-awareness course which we had all been on in the previous year. It was the Hoffman Process which was very much the precursor of Over the Hill in that on the Process, I met people I would never normally have met, let alone get on with famously. Both my companions that evening were self-assured career women and I found that I did not need to put on any act or otherwise pretend that I was something I wasn't; it was me and they were cool with that. My photographic project was an extension of the realisation that, at last, I could be myself and not be ashamed of the fact. I digress.

I rang the bell of the flat and the door was opened by a very handsome fellow with a lovely smile who introduced himself as Alexandro. He told me that he shared the flat with his girlfriend who happened to be a lawyer. They were both from Venezuela. He was completely charming and we sat down and he explained what he planned to do in the shoot. He was going to start with some fairly normal head shots with me wearing a suit at first and then topless. He would then download a suitable image and put it on a monitor and ask me to pose next to it, looking at myself on the screen. We moved into a room set up as a small home studio and whilst we ran through his planned shots, we chatted, mainly about feature films that we loved, both old and new. It made for a very pleasant afternoon with a very nice guy - what is it about photographers which makes them so personable? Maybe it is nothing to do with the fact that they are photographers but just the simple fact that, if you spend time with someone getting to know them, you realise how much goodness there is in that person and in everyone and in the world.

A few days later, Alexandro sent me about ten images by email and I chose one for my project. Funnily enough, Alexandro had said that if I chose an image, it would be one taken towards the end of the shoot whereas in fact I chose one of the early ones. BUT.....then he sent me this image and it eclipsed everything that I had seen before. The concept was so simple and straightforward but the final image says so much about my former life where I was trapped by a sense of duty and by financial and other constraints. Now I am free and able to look back. However, and this was a surprise, the more one looks the more one realises that there is also a deep sadness in the photograph. Not only because it portrays the former lawyer trapped in his world but also because there were good times then and, of course, I was healthy so the caring, sympathetic look is in the eyes of both the person looking in to the monitor and the person looking out. The healthy me is pleased for the new me but my freedom has come at a heavy cost. And that is the most wonderful thing about this photograph - Alexandro has captured that sadness in a way that few others have achieved. 

Of course, I congratulated Alexandro on this picture and he replied saying that he thought it was among his favourite photographs if not the favourite. Wow! I am in Alexandro Pelaez' favourite photograph - how good is that?

I say high, you say low,
You say why and I say I don't know, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello, hello,
I don't know why you say goodbye,
I say hello

Friday, 16 November 2012

ALL OF ME by Nick Wiltshire

ALL OF ME by Nick Wiltshire

Nick Wiltshire is a photographic artist from Tring in Hertfordshire whose work was brought to my notice by an article in "SEE" Magazine which had been published in connection with the Brighton Photo Fringe Festival held in October 2012. I thought his multi layered portraits were fascinating and told him so. He was very pleased to partake in my project and asked if he could photograph me in my home environment which he did on 16th November 2012.

What I love about this picture is that not only is it beautifully constructed but also it includes a number of different locations about our house and a number of different possessions too, all of which have special associations. It comprises all of me, or almost all of me, in one image. When I exhibited about 40 of the photographs from my project in Guernsey in 2011 as part of their Photography Festival, I came out of the Gallery with a visitor and she turned to me and asked "Which one of those photographs is you?" and I replied "All of them". It reminded me of a time when I attended the funeral of an old friend of my mother's. The Church was packed and the vicar conducting the service went into the pulpit and cast his eyes over the congregation and said that each of us had a story to tell of the deceased and had particular memories and all of these went together to make up the whole person. And that is kind of what Nick has achieved here.

It is a wonderful photograph, rich and full, and he is an exceptional photographic artist and also a very nice person with whom to spend a few hours with at home whilst he takes my photograph. I was thrilled when I received this and again, very touched that someone should have given up his his time to produce such magnificent work as part of this project. I am asked often when I am likely to finish this project but, so long as I continue to receive work of this standard, I cannot see it ending for some while yet.

Thank you, Nick. Very much indeed. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


The brilliant photographer, Kandy Ackland, will be joining me on stage so it should be a good evening!

See details below 

The next Ethics in Performance event hosted by the Ethics Team at BSMS will be on Monday 10th December at 6.30 pm with a presentation by Tim Andrews.  Further information is available at: over-the-hill

The event is free but please register your attendance through the link on the webpage.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

EYE SEE YOU by Martina O'Shea

EYE SEE YOU by Martina O'Shea

Martina is a lovely Irish woman currently based in London who takes wonderful considered photographs. She seems never to be quite satisfied but I do not say that as a criticism. Rather it is a compliment to her artistic endeavour. True artists never feel that they have quite succeeded. Her compositions seem so natural and then she has the greatest skill of all - the element of surprise!

She asked me recently what motivated me to ask her to photograph me. Well, I came upon a photograph on the Blog of Alex B, the model, in September 2012. It was a photograph of Alex taken from behind as she was stretching and it was bordered by a black circle, a ring of some sort. Alex's pose, if indeed it was posed, was unusual but I loved the body shape and the fact that it was framed by the circle. I liked the way Martina had thought about the composition or perhaps had suddenly noticed it and caught it at exactly the right moment. I liked her thought process almost as much as the image itself. That would have been enough motivation to contact her but the work on her website gave off the same message and, if I had been in any doubt (which I wasn't), that would have sealed it for me. I wanted that mind to be applied to a photograph of me. We met for an initial chat and, after discussing various locations by email, we decided on Hampstead Heath and Martina asked me to wear pyjamas for the shoot. I don't have any pyjamas so on the way to meet her, I bought a pair from Marks & Spencer.

The shoot took place on 18th October 2012 and it was a nice early Autumn day just right for strutting around a public place in my pyjamas - as it happened hardly anyone seemed to notice or care. We strolled around the Heath and used various different locations. At one point, I stood in a puddle by the side of one of the lakes. Martina really wanted me to get in the lake but there was no way I could. If I had had some plastic shoes and no Parkinson's, it might have been different. One of the last shots was this one and by then it was getting late and a bit dark. I did think it might have been good to have stripped off at this point but I was scared of potential rapists creeping up on us, overpowering Martina and then ravishing me in the undergrowth. Well, you never know - there are stories like that in the Daily Mail all the time!

We walked back to the Station but stopped for some tea and I think we had some cake too. As Martina got up to leave the cafe, I noticed that she put on some little black leather gloves. We caught the train together and said goodbye at Highbury & Islington where I alighted to catch the tube to Victoria. I sat on the train to Brighton and reflected on the day and smiled. 

Martina had shown me some of the shots at the back of the camera and so I thought I had some idea of what the images from the shoot would look like. Well, I had no idea. They were astonishingly different and very, very good. I was overjoyed to receive such fantastic work. All that concentration had paid off. Martina is an exceptional photographer and a very interesting person too. She is sensitive and fun. Aren't I a lucky guy? Lucky Tim they call me.




Only 8 days left to see my namesake in BULLY BOY at St James Theatre in Victoria. It is a great new play by Sandi Toksvig and starring Andrews, who gives a brilliant performance, and Joshua Miles an incredibly talented young actor making his West End debut. Book now to avoid disappointment!! Nothing to do with my project but just had to tell you all.

Monday, 15 October 2012



Reuben Wu must be one of the world's greatest treasures - well, he is as far as I am concerned. I have rarely come across anyone so determined to get the picture he wanted. I saw his work on Flickr in January 2012 and, although there were only a few photographs, there were enough to tell me that this man was an unusual person with great talent. I had to be in one of his photographs. He had heard of my project and said that he would love to be involved and suggested we get together in a few months' time. For one reason or another, I left it for another five months until I wrote again asking if he was still interested. He was and he sent me a picture of a cement works which he thought would be a good location. Again, I left it a few months (2012 was like that) and this time he asked me if there was a favourite place where I would like to be photographed. I thought about this and replied saying that it would have to be West Wittering in Sussex, my childhood home and that I would love to be photographed on the beach. He thought that sounded great and said that he had an idea which involved finding a small rock or a boulder sticking out of a rock pool or the sea - he sent me a photo of such a rock (see below). It needed to have a mountainous look if viewed up close. He wanted to photograph me under the same light conditions but the idea was to place me (via post-processing) on the summit of the rock as if it were a full sized outcrop of rock say, 50 feet high. He explained that he wanted it to look huge rather than me to look miniature so he would have to think about his depth of field. He thought either would be interesting but making it huge would be very nice if he could do it. He added that he had never done this before so it would be very interesting and very rewarding if it worked!

The Rock on West Wittering Beach

We chose a day and hoped that it would be slightly overcast and also that there would not be too many people on the beach. I collected Reuben from Chichester Station and we drove down what to me was the very familiar road to West Wittering. So many memories come flooding back every time I make this journey; my chest heaves with the weight of the recollections of my childhood and my late mother who lived there for so long. 

Some months before, I had visited an old acquaintance who lived only yards from the beach. Her husband had died recently and we had corresponded briefly following his death. Very kindly, she said that, if I ever wanted to go to the beach, I could park in her drive. This was marvellous because it is a long walk from the main road and there is limited access for cars because the road leading to the beach is private. We parked but did not see my friend and so we set off to the beach. It was incredibly windy as only West Wittering can be in October. Lately, I had been suffering a bit because I was beginning to experience "On/Off" periods that is, when the pills ceased to have effect and I was waiting until it was time to take a new one. We walked eastwards but did not find any rocks and so I suggested we walk in the opposite direction because I knew the landscape would be more interesting. The wind blew stronger and I felt myself struggling but I was so impressed by Reuben's desire and determination to find the best location. We never did find a rock but I have to say that I was mightily relieved when he decided to use employ instead a line of breakwater posts sticking out of the sand. He then got out a Polaroid camera and explained that he was only going to use that! Very carefully, he sized up the posts and took pictures from various angles, each time carefully examining the picture he had taken. The amazing thing was that all the time the wind blew harder and yet he stopped to compare a bunch of Polaroids by pinning them to his leg with his finger. If I had been doing this, the pictures would have disappeared immediately! I marvelled at his calmness whilst he assiduously compiled the images and then, at last, he called me forward and photographed me separately. Eventually he agreed that he had got what he wanted and I was very glad to start retracing our steps along the beach back to the car. But even then he stopped every so often and took yet another shot of the sky. By this time it was raining and the wind was so hard that the spots of rain were like little razors as they hit our faces. 

We reached the shelter of the car (with some relief as far as I am concerned) and just as we were getting ready to leave, my friend came out of her house with her daughter whom I had not seen since she used to play with my sister almost 40 years ago. They said that they were worried about us having been on the beach so long on such a day as this. It was very nice to see them both again and it marked a pleasant end to the shoot. On the way back to the Station, we stopped for tea and cake at a little cafe and chatted. Reuben told me that his main occupation was as a musician which surprised me . I mean there was no reason why he shouldn't be a musician but the way he had gone about the photographic job in hand was so impressive that one would think it was his only passion and maybe it is.

Well, I received only one image from him but what an image! And it was all compiled from a set of polaroids! It is utterly amazing and really says so much not only about the day but about West Wittering beach as well. Those who know the beach also know that it can be a unforgiving place as well as beautiful and that day it was both and Reuben captured that dichotomy in a very unique way. Reuben has a very special talent. He is curious and sees beauty everywhere and then reproduces it with such artistry and such care that it absolutely blows your mind. This is a simply wonderful picture and I am so very proud to be able to say - I have been photographed by Reuben Wu. 


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

FOCUS by Jonathan Stead

FOCUS by Jonathan Stead

Jonathan was recommended by Alex Boyd but nothing really prepared me for the incredible work displayed on Jonathan's website, especially the very moving pictures of his grandmother when she was suffering from Dementia. Jon specialises in Dry Plate Photography and all his photographs were just so exciting and innovative and so I had no hesitation in contacting him about my project. He had seen the pictures taken by Alex and was clearly impressed. No surprise there! And he said yes which was a real thrill. This was in September and, within a month, I found myself on a train to Sheffield for the first time in about 40 years. The last time was to visit Susan, my first serious girlfriend, who sadly died of cancer about two years ago. I was at Queen Mary College, London University at the time and she was at Sheffield University. I was so serious that I attempted to be transferred onto the Law course at Sheffield to be nearer to her and we even talked of marriage but then I thought of marriage to just about any girl who turned her head towards me in those days. I was, and still am, an incurable romantic but the relationship was doomed to failure because we were both young and I was incredibly immature.

But, I digress.

I arrived at Sheffield Station on 10th October 2012 and everything looked so different - all much more modern than it had been all those years ago. I was really looking forward to the day with Jon and that helped banish that heavy breathless feeling in my heart as I thought back to Susan (stop it!). Jon collected me from the station in his motor car and immediately he struck me as a very personable and warm man. He had admitted to me beforehand that he knew little about Parkinson's Disease and asked me for more information on the condition and how it affected me specifically so he could decide on poses etc although he did say also that he tended to work with what sees without making too many plans. Love it, love it.

Well, I had the most fascinating day at his studio watching him work with the dry plate method. He developed the photographs there and then and explained the whole procedure very patiently for me. He holds workshops on this way of working and I guess they are very successful because he is a born teacher because he has so much enthusiasm for his art and his craft. We tried various poses topless at first and then some naked ones at the end. He knew what he wanted and it all felt so easy. He was looking to capture the difficulties I had in keeping still particularly as the effect of the pills wore off during the afternoon and he chose the paper negative process as the slow speed made for longer exposures. 

COMING BACK by Jonathan Stead

He took me back to the station in time for the train to St Pancras and as the train pulled away, I was glad to have a new memory to replace the old ones. I leaned my head against the window and smiled as I thought how very lucky I am to have these days with people as nice as Jonathan. I have said many times that it is the shoot I love and the photograph at the end is like a bonus, a little present at the end of it all. However, in this case, I had had a preview of the final images and so I was very much looking forward to receive the photographs from Jon. They arrived shortly afterwards . He sent me three and all of them were just fantastic. He had displayed the images alongside the paper negative as, in his words, "they disorientate and, at first glance appear unconnected'' which he felt mirrored the disconnection I felt over my own body. I am always so touched by the thought and care invested by the photographer in the shoot and post production and this was no exception.

ONE MINUTE by Jonathan Stead

It was so difficult to choose just one image for my project so I asked Jon which one he preferred and between us we plumped for "Focus" but look at the others - see what a difficult job I had?

Jon has asked me to return to Sheffield which I shall do as soon as I can. Why? Because, Jonathan Stead is a true artist and innovator and all round nice guy. I am very honoured to be one of his subjects.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

SOFTLY AS YOU LEAVE ME by Jennika Argent

SOFTLY AS YOU LEAVE ME by Jennika Argent
A return to Gumtree ended very happily indeed as, in February 2011, I found an advertisement from Jennika which said "Female Photographer specializing in Portraits, Nude, Glamour and Boudoir". There was an example of her work shown and it had that certain something. I don't know, I think it was a boldness of a kind that I felt I hadn't experienced before. So, I wrote my usual email but said that possibly we could collaborate on something. She replied asking first if I was happy to pose nude and then going on to say that she didn't know much about Parkinson's other than it makes you shake a lot and that it would be great to have a chat and get a feeling of my energy and what we might do.

We were originally going to meet for a shoot in the office block in the City where she worked but that didn't happen and, what with one thing and another...and another and then another, we didn't meet until August 2012 but we set the shoot up in Hampstead Heath fairly quickly thereafter. We got on very well at our initial meeting and so I had a very good feeling about the shoot. Jennika is a real Londoner and has a very warm personality and I get the feeling that she likes herself and her life and I found that very inspiring, almost moving. She is a good person.

It was a lovely day when we met on the Heath for the shoot but I was very anxious not to upset anyone with my nudity. As I said to Jen afterwards, I sometimes wish I could be more brazen but I can't. I love being nude especially in the open air but I just don't like shocking or upsetting people.

But it all worked out fine. Jen, ably assisted by her lovely friend Sammi, climbed up a tree and I lay down in the leaves below and covered myself up and she shot a few photographs from up there and then we did a shot of me walking away from the camera as I threw leaves over my shoulder. Neither of us were sure that the throwing had worked but it turned out looking as if I was waving the branches out of my way and looks far more natural as a result. One of those happy accidents that end up perfecting a photograph. The idea was to produce a diptych of the two shots. I really loved all the images that Jen sent through but I was undecided about some aspects and certainly found it difficult to choose one for the project. We went around in circles and ended up at the beginning with these shots which I love. I wasn't sure about the leaves sticking to my bum but Jen loved that because it looked like I had just been lying there for a while and had nature imprinted on me which was exactly what had happened.

As for the title, well it originates from a Frank Sinatra song, ''Softly as I leave you''.  I am not a huge Sinatra fan but he sings this song so beautifully. It has wistful sadness to it and that was brought to mind when I saw the look on my face as if I was reflecting on the fact that the me I used to be was slowly, softly leaving me.

Looking at the two shots again has reminded me of what a lovely day it was. I find Jennika such a refreshing person and the photographs reflect her personality. Natural, warm and clear. A lovely woman and a very instinctive and intelligent artist. 


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

SAME AGAIN, NATURALLY by Jillian Edelstein

It was about 3.30pm and Christopher and I left school and walked down Holders Hill Road and then across the bridge over Dollis Brook, turning right along the path which ran alongside the water, its familiar trickling sound welcoming us back again on another warm afternoon. We dumped our satchels down on to a small pebble beach which jutted out forming a small chicane through which the water squeezed before being let loose for a few yards before hitting another obstacle in the form of a fallen branch swaddled in wet brown leaves causing more bubbling and rippling. The camp which we had started building on the far bank was as we had left it the day before when, with our friend, Ricky, we had sat on the dry ground and shared a packet of biscuits and a bottle of lemonade in the shade of the roof made from some old fence panels which we had found in the undergrowth. 

Fifty years later, I return to the brook on another sunny day with a view to sending Jillian a message suggesting a shoot there. She agrees and the following week we meet at her house and set off to Hendon in the car with her assistant for the day, Christina Theissen. When we arrive, we are met not only by grey clouds hovering above but also by two employees of the Environment Agency who are wearing thigh-length boots and are busy clearing the banks. Fortunately, they are moving away from the place I had earmarked for the shoot the week before but they warn us against putting our hands in the water and then into our mouths because of the rats, adding merrily that luckily the recent rain had washed most of the sewage away. As I lead Jillian and Christina to the spot, heavy drops of rain begin to fall and we come together under an umbrella and listen to mothers in the adjoining parkland scuttle away with toddlers to escape the downpour. 

Eventually, the rain stops and the sun re-appears and I feel relieved that the park is now devoid of visitors as it will avoid any potential embarrassment for me and them when I remove my clothes. Jillian then realises that she has not packed her memory cards for her camera and looks at me and says that she does have a polaroid camera as well as a film camera and one roll of out of date film. Shall we go back to the house and get the cards and risk the return of rain, mothers and children and the Environment Agency workers? Shall we cancel and go home and try something else or shall we work with what we've got? We go with this last choice and it changes the whole mood. We are all determined to make it work. Jillian takes test shots on polaroid and we gather round and purr over the results which bode well for the shots on film. Jillian asks me to crouch and look away and purrs again as the shutter clicks. She asks me to lie down - I go to lie on my back but she says no, on my front with my head over the water. As I lie there and look deep into the stream, the memory of those beautiful days after school with my friends replays in my head and I just know that these shots will be everything that I wished them to be.

Jillian sends me the contact sheet - I adore these images. The sallow green tinge, the arch of my back, the feeling of the passing of time. It is entirely appropriate that I am naked. It places me in a world of my own.  A world of distant sounds, earthy smells and dancing light. Jillian has captured all this on one roll of film which I suppose any capable photographer could have done but not with quite the same sensitivity and understanding and that extra special something that is unique to her. 

I walk home up Hendon Avenue past the house where Vera Lynn lives, across Hendon Lane and then down Gravel Hill to Church End. I look into the grocery store and see Mr Sparrow busily serving a customer and then I cross Stanhope Avenue and carry on past the Baptist Church and up to Templars Crescent. Mrs Middelton is at the door of number 5 and waves and I smile at her and she smiles back. I reach our house and my mother greets me. "Where have you been?" she asks. "Nowhere....." I feel my lip tremble as I reply. Then I stand up and brush the mud and grit off my skin and get dressed. 


MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (or the night I met Paul)


No, it hasn't got anything to do with my photographic project but I had to write something about my experience last night. I am a huge fan of The Beatles and happen also to be a member of the British Film Institute and so, when I saw that the new Arena Documentary about "Magical Mystery Tour" was scheduled to be shown, with the film itself, on 2nd October, I made sure that I booked a ticket online the moment that member's priority booking opened in August. I like to sit in the middle of the front row of the cinema whenever I watch a film and my favourite cinema is NFT! So, it is safe to say that I was delighted to book Seat A5 in the NFT1 for the early showing. It was billed as a Gala performance and so there were only a few tickets available to the public.

I arrived early to collect my ticket from the Box Office, bumping into my good friends Nick and Helen on the way in and then meeting Gordon Murray on the way out and then I heard over the loudspeaker that the audience had to take their seats for the 6.30pm showing even though it was only 5.45pm. On the way to my seat, I passed Liam Gallagher and also saw Paul Gambaccini and Paul Weller in the audience. The reason the start of the showing was delayed became clear when Paul McCartney was ushered to his seat towards the back. Anthony Wall stood up and spoke very briefly about the film and said that Arena had a long history of covering many amazing art works and artists but that, in his view, nothing was as important as this programme about the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour.

The Documentary was very good indeed and there are contributions by Paul, Ringo and George (from 1993) as well as Paul Fox, Paul Merton, Terry Gilliam and Martin Scorsese and it leaves you eagerly anticipating the film which followed after a short interval. During that interval, I chatted to this guy sitting next to me and he and his father both of whom went up to Paul and got his autograph. Years ago, I would have done the same but Jane has rammed it into my head that that is very, very uncool. I am the last of the very, very uncool but I controlled myself. 

The film followed and, quite frankly, in my humble opinion it is a minor masterpiece. I began thinking that it was way ahead of its time but it's not - it is absolutely OF its time. It is a very significant piece of Pop History and, like other examples of stunning works from the 1960s eg A Hard Day's Night, French New Wave Cinema etc, it is also timeless. It is a swirling extravaganza of colour and silliness (cf The Goon Show and Monty Python) and full of weird, strange characters that call to mind (well, mine anyhow) Fellini's "Amarcord" made some six years later. The new print is impeccable. And then, of course, there is the music. "Fool on a Hill", the instrumental "Flying", the incredible majesty of "I am the Walrus", the thumping introduction of the Title song and then the gorgeous, whimsical, magical, fabulous "Your Mother Should Know" not the best song on the record but accompanied and augmented by the deliciously surreal visuals. Bloody Hell, even "Blue Jay Way" sounds good! There were tears streaming down my face as the credits went up and there was a roar of approval amidst loud applause from the audience. I had to thank one of the architects of this wondrous piece of art. I moved swiftly up to the now vacated row behind Macca and rudely tapped him on the shoulder as he was talking to a friend in the row in front. He hesitated before he turned around and I proffered my hand and shook his and said "Thank You". I said that I was a good friend of his brother (I think I qualify as a good, if not a close friend don't I Mike?) and said thank you for all the pleasure he had given me over the years. He seemed a bit nonplussed but said "Oh, right, good". I bade him goodbye and left him to probably instantly forget yet another fan who had thanked him but I left floating ON A BLOODY ENORMOUS CLOUD. I realise many other people have met him but this was me. I called Jane and cried as I told her what had happened.

"Why so sad, old friend, why so sad on such a night? Not sad, not sad old pal, just happy to be alive"

I love all the Beatles but, for one reason or another, Paul has carried the flame more than the others and so I do have a big soft spot for him. Yeah, I know his voice is not quite as strong as it once was and yes, I know he has released some ordinary stuff over the years but it might seem ordinary because the other work is brilliant, and yet very often, there is a pearl that ranks amongst his best work.

I urge you to watch the Arena Show on 6th October -
and then the film - on a big screen if you can and at top volume for the songs, especially "I am the Walrus" and, if you like good melodic pop and exciting experimental cinema and you are sufficiently "out there", I guarantee that you will be humming one of the songs as you skip off to make a cup of tea at the end. 

"......the Magical Mystery Tour is coming to take you away!!" and a splendid time is guaranteed for all. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

SO? by Silvia Anguelova

SO? by Silvia Anguelova
Silvia Anguelova was born in Bulgaria and I saw her work showcased on the London Photographers' Association website and then looked up her gloriously dark and bloody images on her own site and just had to write to her asking if she would consider photographing me. I was not entirely sure she would say yes as she had declared on one particular site that the Woman takes a central role in her work. She went on to say that she wanted to question the nature of women and femininity in today's society. However, what interested me was the similarities between this investigation and my wife Jane's recent series of paintings "Station of the Skirt" where women's roles and status are examined sometimes quite severely. Apart from this, Silvia's photographs were so luscious that I was eager to be given the same treatment as her female models not least because I have always wanted to be a woman myself. As I have said many times, I am a lesbian.

Silvia said yes and, in a very short period of time, I found myself in her home studio in Barking having false blood dripped on me and holding a dead bird both naked and dressed in my suit. Silvia was a delightful companion for the hour or two it took to complete the shoot and she was ably assisted by her lovely friend, Svetla Georgieva. We had good fun and chatted about all sorts of things and I was even given the opportunity to show them a couple of my films on You Tube!

Silvia sent me two images afterwards both of which I loved but this one was clearly my preferred choice because of the look that the dressed me is giving to the camera  - hence the title. Silvia was very happy with my choice and the title so I give you a wonderful photograph by the very talented Silvia Anguelova whose reputation will grow and allow her to become one of the most successful visual artists of our time. I'm not kidding - her work is superb and she has a drive and energy and a free style that will ensure that she enjoys great success in the future

I read somewhere that Silvia's work is a combination of "wonder, beauty and disbelief". Why would I not want to be photographed by her?!? Hang on a minute, I didn't imagine it - I have been photographed by her! 

It was a dream.


Saturday, 15 September 2012


BOXING by Tim Andrews

This is another self portrait which sums up how I'm feeling about this bloody disease at the moment. I just couldn't sleep last night because I was shaking, I don't know why. I came down and chatted to Jane who was still up but I felt very emotional. She made us both a Horlicks.I did a shoot on Sunday where I danced for the photographer and I think I overdid it because my hip and knee on my right side were agony about 24 hours later and now, after 4 days, it still hurts but not quite so much. So that hasn't helped.

Other than that, I feel like I am hurtling towards the end and, every so often, I stumble and roll forwards down the hill but, occasionally, I am able to stand up and, for a time, travel at my own pace but the illness is relentless and keeps pushing me along faster and faster and yet, I have all these things that I want to do. 
I know that this is not the world's best photograph and in no way am I anywhere near as good as the great photographers who have shot me but I do enjoy self portraiture - it is somehow very comforting. I am not afraid of self discovery as I want to find as many answers about myself as I can before I go. 

I am going to stop now and edit yet another film I have made - this is the latest


Saturday, 8 September 2012

THERE WAS A TIME by Katerina Iacovides

    THERE WAS A TIME by Katerina Iacovides

I came across Katerina's work during yet another trawl through the photographs on Flickr and I was very impressed by how bizarre and exciting they were so I wrote to her straightaway and received an answer almost by return in which she asked if there was any particular style of her work that I liked. She also explained that she would like to create something for me that moved in a different direction from previous images in my project - something that would inspire both of us. I love it when this happens ie when the photographer starts thinking immediately what he or she will do with me. I find it very moving somehow. She also said that she would like to meet me beforehand as she liked to get a feeling for a person before jumping straight into creating a portrait so we arranged to meet at Paddington Station where we discussed each other's work and ideas began to take shape. 

Katerina also made it clear that she had a tendency to improvise so it was no surprise to me that the shoot encompassed a lot that we hadn't previously discussed. On the day, we did some shots inside the house and then outside using an old ornate picture frame and we ended up going by bus to Devil's Dyke on the outskirts of Brighton where we shot some cowboy pictures. It was a beautiful day and Katerina was a very interesting person to talk to and an extremely pleasant companion so it was all jolly good fun. Gosh, I am such a lucky guy to have days like these.

Well, afterwards I received some really quite wonderful images from Katerina. The first one was with the frame and I would have been very happy with just that but then she sent the cowboy shots from Devil's Dyke which I adored and then finally the Digital Art images which were glorious. 

And yet something kept pulling me back to one of the cowboy photos. I think it was the connection with my childhood love of westerns plus the fact that we had such a lovely time doing them together. So I plumped for this one - it has an elegiac feel to it and although I loved the tones of the colour shots, the black and white suggests a more historical feel even though the western films I saw in my youth were generally made in colour. Katerina was happy with the choice too. She managed, very subtly, to draw out of me elements of my past ie the cowboy but also present it in a very romantic and cinematic way which is really what I'm all about. Romance and the Movies - that'll do me!

Katerina - a delightful woman and a very creative photographer.


Thursday, 6 September 2012


CONGRATULATIONS to both Alma Haser and Spencer Murphy (both of whom have photographed me) for being chosen for the final shortlist for the Taylor Wessing Prize this year.

Alma Haser: The Ventriloquist © Alma Haser

Alma is a brilliant young photographer whose work fully justifies her selection as a finalist. She is extremely hard working, is not afraid to try out new ideas and experiment with different cameras, film and concepts. She is also extremely charming and a joy to work with.

Spencer Murphy: Mark Rylance © Spencer Murphy

As for Spencer, well what can I say? He consistently produces stunning portraits of which his photograph of Mark Rylance must be one of his very best. He is also a very nice bloke.

Alma's photograph of me is here and Spencer's portrait is there.

I am so thrilled for both of them.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

"菰野とバルーンと裸" ("Naked with Kimono and Balloon") by Poppy French

"菰野とバルーンと裸" ("Naked with Kimono and Balloon")  by Poppy French

Bloody Hell - this was fun! 

Poppy became a follower on my Blog and I looked her up on the internet and discovered that she was a very good photographer so I wrote to her and she answered very quickly saying yes to my request that she photograph me. I met her in Haslemere (where incidentally, dear readers, I started my career as a fully qualified solicitor after completing my training in Chichester) and we got on very well and talked about her grandparents' house as a location for the shoot and some other ideas. Initially, she mentioned that, quite often, she liked to photograph people (and herself) as fine art paintings, creating a small scene out of bits and pieces and then doing a bit of Photoshop. Then she suggested that it would be great if I could think of a favourite painting or someone in History whom I have aspired to be. We talked a bit about this but in the end, it got put to one side. We corresponded over quite some time during which she told me that she was doing a lot with her friend, James Barnett, a keen set designer and they would both like to be involved in the shoot and that they had quite a lot of set pieces which they were quite keen to use.

And on to the shoot itself which took place in and around James' parents house in Godalming. In fact, another legal connection - a solicitor with whom I had many, many dealings over 29 years in both Haslemere and Grayshott, lived in the same road. This was the man who came to our house in Milford once, to collect his daughter (a school friend of my own daughter) and, as he left, looked at the brass door knocker on our front door and said, "You know what you need to do with that Tim? Work on it with some wire wool" Bloody nerve! And then a few years ago after l had retired I met him in Waitrose in Godalming and said, "Hello, David, How are you?" and he said "I'm sorry and who are you?" Maybe he's a bit senile now or maybe it's because he never looks you in the eye. Anyway, I digress - back to this shoot.......

A few days before the shoot, I asked Poppy what she wanted me to wear. She asked for a number of jackets and an assortment of T shirts, ordinary shirts, trousers and shoes but I really needn't have bothered because I arrived at about 12 noon, stripped off and put on the kimono but apart from that, I was starkers for the rest of the day part from the odd see-through cape, a balloon and a ruff. James was a real hoot and he and Poppy are real soul mates and I tuned in to their way of doing things right from the start. We started off with the kimono, as I said, in a sort of Japanese garden area but eventually this was discarded and I posed naked in other areas of the garden before we strolled off to a nearby field with a helium filled balloon to play with. More nude shots but some clothed too. James was helping the direction of the shoot but also filmed part of it. 

And all the while, we laughed and chatted and chatted and laughed and then laughed some more. We were like little kids meeting up for a day when we could play whatever games we liked. It was such a relaxing day with many little highlights and just great, great fun. I chose this clothed shot as Poppy's contribution to my project. Basically, it is such a good photograph - the colour, the directness, the questions without answers. The whole experience was wonderfully bizarre and bizarrely weird in a very innocent, unashamed way. The sort of day that one wants to repeat very often. And we finished in time for "Doctor Who".

Thank you Poppy and James - for EVERYthing! Here's to the next time. 

Poppy and James

TWITTER: @poppyfrench

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

TIM by Paulina Otylie Surys

CHAINS by Paulina Otylie Surys

It has been said that "all good things come to those who wait". This is a perfect example. I was photographed by Paulina on 28th July 2012 and, sure enough, I received this picture from her on 22nd February 2019! In fact, there is a small number of photographers who have yet to send me any images and, in one or two cases, I have been waiting longer than six years seven months but I have to say that I never gave up on Paulina for three reasons. First, I knew that her photograph would be excellent and it is. Secondly, she took the shoot seriously and, thirdly, I have remained in contact with her over the last six yearsor so and she assured me that she would definitely send me a portrait and she did!

So why do I love this picture so much? It is unique - no other picture in "Over the Hill" has this tone which is so redolent of her work. Beautiful light and shade and body (and I don't mean mine) and the uncanny mixture of humour and gravity in the use of the chains and the leather straps. Am I into bondage? Or am I trying to control my tremor? or both??

In January 2012, I was flicking through Flickr and screeched to a halt at Paulina's photostream. Her work was stunning. I wasted no time in writing to her asking if she might consider taking my photograph. She replied very enthusiastically and, after some correspondence by email, I accepted her invitation to be part of her shoot replicating "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch as a commission for the British Journal of Photography. I had never taken part in a professional group shoot before and it turned out to be great fun. The shoot took place in a wonderfully atmospheric crypt of a church in London. The models were a little cool with me at first but that was probably because I was a chatty amateur on their patch but Paulina was a darling and handled the whole thing brilliantly and the models warmed up gradually and I think everyone enjoyed the day. Halfway through the afternoon, Paulina quietly took me off into a chapel and took this shot and some others which was so kind because the pressure was on to finish her main shoot and she wasn't feeling well.

Paulina sent the group shots quite quickly and they looked amazing but, as I say, the individual shot of me took a while longer but I kind of like that. I felt very moved when it arrived and very grateful. What a lucky guy I am to have worked with Paulina, not only a supreme artist but also a lovely person with a beautiful smile.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

SLEEP, GENTLE SLEEP by Charlotte Steeples

SLEEP, GENTLE SLEEP by Charlotte Steeples

Charlotte left a message on my Blog in March 2012 saying that she had heard about my project and wanted to know if she could be considered for the project and she included a link to her website. Now this could have been tricky because, although I had not made any rules about who might photograph me, what if I didn't like her work? I need not have worried because I really felt there were some very good images on her site and, in particular, there a sense that this was a photographer keen on discovery and willing to take risks. Oh alright, I'm not a photographer so what do I know? Well, not much, but I do know what I like and, as this is my journey, it can only be down to me to choose. Anyway, I replied to her message positively and we arranged to meet on 26th August as I was coming over to her home town of Richmond-upon-Thames that day to meet my youngest sister as it was her birthday.

We met near Richmond Station (memories, memories) and walked to Richmond Park as we had agreed that Charlotte would take some photographs there even though the proper shoot was scheduled for the following weekend in the City. Charlotte has this infectious enthusiasm and that showed in her pretty open face right from the moment we met. It took us a good 15 minutes or so to get to the park but during that time we chatted about this and that and we were firm friends by the time we arrived. We had talked previously about the possibility of trying some nude shots provided there was no-one about to be offended but at first, we found some good locations for some more conventional portraits. Eventually, we came upon a rough path through some tall grass and I quickly stripped off and lay down for a few shots of which this was one. I got dressed and we wandered some more and did some more clothed pictures. 

The proper shoot was the following weekend and for this Charlotte asked me to dance to music in some head phones in various locations around St Pauls and the City. Her concept for the shoot was to focus on the fact that my diagnosis had enabled me to escape from the drudgery of work and so she wanted to portray my new found freedom by dancing. As it was a Sunday, we assumed it would be fairly empty but as I surfaced from the Underground, I was suddenly in the midst of lines of crash barriers as well as dozens of policemen and women and stewards - it was the day of the Marathon in the Paralympics! Nevertheless, we found some good spots which resulted in some very neat photographs. We finished off on the Millennium footbridge (the one that used to shake - I wonder how they cured that..........) and ended up having a full English Breakfast each in a nice little cafe where Charlotte took a few headshots. It was a beautiful day all round and it was an absolute pleasure to share it with someone as nice as Charlotte.

Then I had the added pleasure of receiving the photographs shortly afterwards. The shots in the City were fabulous especially the ones on the steps of St Pauls and on the bridge but I kept harking back to a particular nude in Richmond Park and when Charlotte said she liked it too, I decided that was the one to represent Charlotte in my project. 

Charlotte is wonderfully talented photographer with an eye for the unusual and a great sense of fun and yet she takes her work very seriously and, as you can see, it pays off.


Friday, 24 August 2012

FLYING SPIRIT by Chris O'Donovan

FLYING SPIRIT by Chris O'Donovan

In early 2011, I saw some photographs by Chris O'Donovan in "You" Magazine and liked the style and so looked up his website to find even more scrumptious images. I wrote to him immediately and he responded extremely positively. He had googled me and thought that some of the images were amazing. He also mentioned that his grandfather had had Parkinson's Disease. Eventually, Chris came to Brighton and it is safe to say that he was captivated by the house and also by Jane's paintings. He is a lovely man who has an attractive boyish face and an enthusiasm to match. I received a long message from him the next day in which he explained that he had been up until 4am brainstorming ideas which fizzed out of his email like little fireworks. One idea he had was to set me in the house watching all my mementoes fly through the air past me but technically this proved hard to do and, as he said, when he arrived for the shoot itself, it would take a long time and he would rather spend time photographing me rather photographing objects. He was also very taken indeed by Jane's paintings and originally said that the wanted to include them somehow into the shot. This never happened but, as Jane is the architect of the layout of the room in which the shoot took place, she does have a strong presence here.

The shoot took place in August 2012 and did not include any flying objects but did feature a fish tank which was perched somewhat precariously between two chairs in our sitting room and then filled with water which worried me and would have horrified Jane......if she had been there! I could not bear the thought of the tank splitting and all that water flooding the room as well as the kitchen below. Thankfully no disasters occurred and Chris shot from below the tank whilst I plunged my head and hands into the water.

We cleared away the tank and then tried some nude shots most which were lit with a lights placed both inside and on the balcony. I had brought down to the room some of my most treasured possessions but in the end we only used my late grandfather's silk top hat. And it was one of these shots that Chris favoured most of all and which I chose to represent as Chris's contribution to my project. I have used this pose in some photographs before but what sets this picture apart is the wonderful lighting and the weird context of the image in that I am seemingly dancing in my sitting room with top hat but nothing else. There is grace and beauty in the picture which are captured perfectly by Chris. And the viewer asks why? And the obvious answer is "why not?"

Chris sent me low res versions of all the photographs he took that day and it was fascinating looking through and remembering how it all unfolded in the shoot. We had so much discussion about what we planned to do and I feel that we had to go through all that to get to this one fantastic image which sums up Chris's zest for life and the undiluted delight that he takes in creating photographs. Very much a collaboration of ideas, feelings and passion.

I adore this photograph.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Still from the film "NOTHING MATTERS EVERYTHING MATTERS" by Shawn Sobers

There is nothing that can quite compare to dancing naked on the beach at five o'clock in the morning to Roy Orbison singing "In Dreams". That was what I ended up doing as a result of the request by Shawn Sobers to film me as part of my project.

In 2011, I came across a photography blog administered by Dr Shawn Sobers, Senior Lecturer of Photography & Media at the Faculty of Creative Arts, Humanities and Education at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol. However, at that time, I didn't know Shawn was the administrator of the blog. I had read a post by one of his students, Chloe Lee, whose father had Parkinson's Disease and replied by way of a comment and he answered on her behalf. Then, one day in the following summer, I was wandering through the Free Range exhibitions of various college students' final degree projects at the Truman Brewery Buildings in Brick Lane, East London and, after 'sending half crazed shadows, giants dancing up the brick wall of Mr Truman's beer factory waving bottles ten feet all', I happened to walk into the section where the photography students from UWE were showing and Shawn, recognising me, approached me and introduced himself and we had a chat in the course of which he explained that he had started his own project which involved filming people dancing and asked if I might be interested and I said that I would. 

A few weeks afterwards, we corresponded by email and agreed that we could shoot four songs, two naked and two clothed, one song of each section being dance music and the other slow/thoughtful music. I was to choose the songs - this was almost like Desert Island Discs! Well, I had to choose "Dreamer" by Supertramp as one of the dance songs, the other being "By the Way" by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. As for the slow ones, I chose "One Day, I'll Fly Away" by Randy Crawford and "In Dreams".  Shawn came to stay with us and the first morning, we went very early down to the nudist beach in Brighton and I had a most wonderful time dancing to this beautifully emotive music. 

After a while, Shawn sent me the film - it is good. It says so much about how I felt then. Free and happy whilst I was still keeping my illness under control. Shawn very cleverly edited the film in such a way to show this feeling. it might seem easy just to point a camera at someone dancing and to catch what the guy is al about but it was the manner in which Shawn communicated his ideas to me and then brought the film together that really enabled him to represent how I was then. 

The film has received a very good response by those who have seen it. Since then Shawn, whom I should say at this point is a lovely, lovely man, has kept in touch and last year I went to Bristol and spoke to his students whose work I then saw later in the summer at their degree show on the South bank and indeed some of them have agreed since to photograph me. I know they will make a superb job of it because Shawn, as well as being lovely, is clever and a communicator and their work shows his influence whilst, at the same time, he gives them the freedom  to express themselves.

As for the title of the film, Shawn took this from a story I told him about which was mentioned by Olivia Laing in her superb book, "To the River" which is basically a beautifully written documentary about the River Ouse which features Virginia Woolf who drowned in the river. She recounts in the book how Virginia's husband, Leonard, had a motto, "Nothing Matters" and when I read that, I thought, 'yeah, I'll sign up to that' but, after she drowned, Leonard altered the motto to "Nothing matters, Everything matters" which I thought was also right for me as well. 

I danced to the music on the beach that morning as if nothing mattered but it does all matter, so much, doesn't it? Or does it? 


....and Yes.

FILM:[Password: nothingeverything]

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

SPLASH by Kristina Sälgvik

SPLASH by Kristina Sälgvik
I came across Kristina's wonderful photography on Flickr. The most recent photographs were some months old but they had a stillness and a directness which immediately engaged with me and I thought (and this now seems to be the test) ''I want to be in a photograph taken by this photographer''. And so it came to pass. I left a message on her Flickr page, she answered very much in the positive, we met for a coffee in The Mad Hatter cafe in Brighton and chatted about the shoot and I think it was then that we decided it would be in the sea as the sun went down. She is a very warm and friendly person with a lovely smile.

I met Kristina and her charming friend Simon whom had come along to assist her. It was a Sunday evening and the beach was still quite crowded but we got started pretty quickly. I love the sea and so it was great fun standing there waiting for the waves to crash around me as Kristina snapped away on her Hasselblad. We all got pretty wet but it was worth it. We then started to dry off and change but were somewhat hampered by this little Jack Russell dog which took a liking to Simon's shoes and dived in and scampered away with one triumphantly pursued by Simon wearing only a towel. It was all very funny and all was well in the end as the shoe was retrieved.

I received the photograph from Kristina some weeks later and I absolutely love it. Again, although there is movement in the picture through the sea crashing against me, I love the directness of the, slightly startled, look in my face. And the softness of the evening sunlight down the side of my body is beautiful. Kristina agreed saying that she liked the contrast of the flat still sea behind me and the crashing wave.

Well, another great photograph to add to my project and it really stands out. When I created a slideshow of all the photos recently and they flashed by every 5 seconds or so, this one really held my attention because Kristina held my look and combined it beautifully with the smack of the water against me. Great stuff!