In May 2007 Tim Andrews answered an advert in Time Out from photographer Graeme Montgomery calling for life-models. He enjoyed the experience so much that, in the four years since, he has modelled for over 140 photographers, for big names like Harry Borden and Rankin and students just starting out. 'I had no idea that it would take off as it did,' explains Andrews. 'In fact, I had no inkling that I was starting a project at all.'
Over the Hill, as the project has come to be known, is not merely an attempt to collect photographers or break records, it documents Andrews' life with Parkinson's disease. Diagnosed in 2005, Andrews was offered retirement from his 29 year career as a solicitor and suddenly found himself free to do all the creative things he had wanted to do but couldn't before.
'I have no problem with taking my clothes off,' clarifies Andrews; so he answered Montgomery's advert. 'As I was no longer a solicitor with a reputation to consider, I thought 'Why not?' I felt proud to think I was going to have a professional nude photo of myself.'
It took nearly 130 photographers before the right time came for his wife, artist Jane Andrews to contribute to the project with In the Cellar - taken whilst clearing their basement. 'My illness has been very difficult for Jane. Initially, there was the shock of the diagnosis, then my deterioration, then my immediate recovery under the heavier medication; and then having to deal with someone banging on about what a great time I was having with all of these young artists.'
A collection of 40 prints from Over the Hill are on show as part of Guernsey Photography Festival at The Rotunda in St Peter Port (1-30 June).
Although Andrews is not in control of the camera, Over the Hill manages to say so much about him. 'I shall carry on until it stops being enjoyable. The great thing is that I have no ambition. It really is, and always has been a labour of love.' With each photograph Andrews attempts to combat a disease which could so easily have come to define him.
Follow the link to find out how you can attend Tim Andrews' talk (10 June, 7:30pm) and other events at Guernsey Photography Festival. If you're a photographer, you can Get Involved and Photograph Tim Andrews (11-12 June).