OVER THE HILL - A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY
“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 project 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 130 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 chose “Over the Hill” as the title of the project but I had not discussed this with anyone by the time I met the photographer, Roberto Foddai, in London to talk about his ideas for our proposed 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’
I am pleased to announce that an exhibition of the photographs is being held at the Lightbox Gallery in Woking, Surrey from 1st to 27th February 2011. It will be in the form of a slideshow. Please come along and see what wonderful work has been produced by the photographers involved. It is a wonderful gallery so there is a lot more to see.
I have received tremendous support and encouragement from Parkinson's UK throughout the project and, therefore, if you feel moved by these wonderful photographs (or even if you don't!), please make a donation to the charity on this page.
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"Free the people, now.
Do it, do it, do it, do it now."