Tim Andrews was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease when he was just 54 years old. Facing the stark effects of a potentially debilitating condition, the newly retired lawyer sought solace, stability and a creative outlet. He found these things and more in an impressive photography project that's come to be known as "Over the Hill."
Comprised of nearly 250 images of Andrews throughout the various stages of his illness, the series serves as a visually striking and deeply personal documentation of one individual's battle with Parkinson's, or as Andrews described in a recent interview with The Telegraph, a "thrilling journey of discovery –- a quest to confront my illness and survive." He allowed a number of photographers including well-known artists like Rankin and Jillian Edelstein to capture his likeness in a dazzling array of portraits, running the gamut of emotions from playful and exuberant to distressed and subdued.
"Dandy Close Up" by Rankin
The series began in 2007 when Andrews answered an advertisement placed by photographer Graeme Montgomery in Time Out. This foray into live modeling sparked "Over the Hill," as Andrews sought the expertise of more and more photographers, grinning, grimacing and even shedding his clothes in front of the camera.
“You know that feeling when you are 15 and everything begins to explode inside you? Well, I feel like 15 again," Tim stated in an interview with The Telegraph, explaining the feeling of reinvigoration afforded to him by this six-year endeavor. "This project has given me enormous self-confidence and it’s not over yet. I don’t dwell on the future and I know about the debilitating effects of this disease. I am determined to squeeze all I can into each day.”
Images from "Over the Hill" have been shown in multiple galleries and festivals, the most recent being the UK's Farley Farm, the former home of photographer Lee Miller and painter Roland Penrose. Andrews' work is being shown in conjunction with the paintings of his wife, artist Jane Andrews. During the immediate years following her husband's diagnosis, Jane found it difficult to create works as his health deteriorated. It wasn't until 2010 that she finished her series, "Stations of the Skirt," later followed by a collection of paintings inspired by Andrews' condition, titled "Don't Look Back."
"I guess that, like Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, Tim’s photographs and my paintings reflect the turmoil and adventure of the separate worlds which we inhabit...together!’’ Jane explains in the exhibit's press release.
You can see more of Andrews' portraits on his blog here. Scroll through the slideshow below for a peek at some of the photos in "Over the Hill" and "Don't Look Back," on view at Farley Farm until July 30, 2013. Let us know your thoughts on the project in the comments.