A Guy Called Tim

I shall start this entry in Tim’s words from his blog;

“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 300 different photographers have photographed and filmed 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.” 

Seven years later the project still runs and I was to become photographer 334 in Tim’s marathon project in early March this year. We met in The Mad Hatter cafe a week before the shoot. Every so often our paths cross with someone whose presence you feel immediately comfortable with and that was certainly the case with Tim. It is as the cliche goes, like you have known them for longer than those few moments you have just met. Tim Andrews is a man who has defined himself rather more post Parkinson’s Disease than before in his previous life as a lawyer I feel. Rather than sitting back and waiting for nature to do it’s thing he has taken life by the throat and began a creative journey to document his life and persona by working with amateur and professional photographers.

I must say that before every shoot Im just a little nervous. Anything can happen from gear failure to just making a complete idiot of yourself due to stupidity. In my life Ive done many street portraits which is in my opinion the most difficult to get right but nevertheless even with a willing subject and time the pressure is always there and I like to self impose the pressure regardless. I think only creative people understand the feeling of when ‘it’ happens. It’s that knowing of and rush of excitement and happiness when you have a result which defines what your wanting to achieve. The addiction of creative souls is the search for that elation and it’s as much a curse as it’s a blessing. So the shoot took 90 minutes and I quickly ventured into a realm Ive never visited before.. the nude portrait. Tim has experience and was so at ease it relaxed me which is just as well. I think it’s a measure of trust between the photographer and subject when the flow becomes seamless. We tried a variety of poses but the portrait of serenity (#3) followed by the scream (#4) shows two sides of all of us. What we strive for and those moments in our lives when all we want to do is scream. Tim of course doesn’t have what most of us take for granted.. he has a condition which can only be managed for a time but not cured. 

The following images show an edited progression of the shoot. I think they speak for themselves. How you feel about them is for you to decide. The last two portraits show Tim in his alter ego of Roger A Destroyer and he can be seen talking here. The last portrait has been chosen by Tim for the project Over The Hill. Here is Tim’s blog entry about the shoot.

Tim Andrews #1 (c)Stewart Weir 2015
Tim Andrews #2 (c)Stewart Weir 2015
Tim Andrews #3 (c)Stewart Weir 2015
Tim Andrews as Roger A Destroyer #4 (c)Stewart Weir 2015
The chosen image for the project, Over The Hill. Tim Andrews as Roger A Destroyer (c)Stewart Weir 2015

“Photography records the gamut of feelings written in the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” – Edward Steichen.

I Wonder

I Wonder (c) Stewart Weir 2012

Today I woke reminded of the seconds that pass as you lay there not quite awake and not quite asleep. Remembering dreams and not quite remembering others in a mush of mind chatter. Peicing together fragments and working out whether it’s relevant to my life or just the mind amusing itself with it’s own private soap show. So I wake and get that first coffee and the dreams become less real and more fragmented whilst other fragments remain as if they really happened yesterday. I’m going to add them to all of my other dream fragments that ‘really’ happened to me once upon a time.

I walked on gravestones, watched water flow in a cold Scottish loch with surfers in the far distance riding small but perfectly formed waves. I kissed a girl from my past from long ago and she smiled and said nothing. I rode a bicycle along a dusty path and saw where I wanted to go in the distance, then she was there again by my side but I went off down the hill and she turned and smiled again as I called out to her and as I did I felt love for everything, at peace and a forward momentum to somewhere I don’t know.

Last night I watched the documentary film Searching For Sugarman and I’m still thinking about the story of Sixto Rodriguez this morning. It’s had an impact but for now I’m still working it out. Iv’e found his music and will dig deep into what he had to say. I guess this is my point. We are forever working things out and yet for some like Sixto they appear to have it worked out. Wide awake to the world, spiritually gifted, humble and incredibly talented and even though he never became as big as he may have, he still gave with his heart for no material gain other than for his soul to be enriched by doing things his way and for others. He is the epitome of acceptance of how life goes… for better or worse.

So the seconds as they tick by every day give us many opportunities and chances to go this way or that. Left, right, yes or no to do or not to do. The image above is to me the choices we make today and the branches we choose to travel whether we like it or not… enforced or self imposed. We know this but how often do we really think about each fraction of time that passes us by to make that whole hour, day and year? Do we accept and are we humble in a way that Sixto teaches?

Image and words (c) Stewart Weir 2014

El Masnou


El Masnou, Barcelona © Stewart Weir 2013

“Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal… In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.

Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away for two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh–not a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.”

Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings