Beyond Our Boundaries – A collaboration between Andrew Follows and Bruce Rimell

Artists often seek to explore beyond the boundaries of what other people consider is possible, and while many people think the practice of art is ‘self-expression’, a more authentic way to think about artistic endeavours is as “beyond-the-self exploration.” This ‘beyond-the-self’ dynamic is certainly true of both Australian photographer Andrew Follows and British artist Bruce Rimell: both of them use their respective artforms as ways to extend the possibilities of their lives and move beyond their boundaries. 

Andrew’s use of digital photography acts as an expanded way of for him to see and experience the world, moving him beyond the bounds of his visual disability into vistas of stunning photography and remarkable adventures, which have included exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, a 2012 show in Edinburgh, Scotland, winning the Arts Access Australia Peoples Choice award for one of his photographs, meeting HRH Prince Charles at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, and future opportunities at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Games and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

Andrew has an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a condition which has rendered one eye completely blind with ever diminishing tunnel vision in the other. What vision he has in this eye is hazy and limited, but this does not diminish his technical skills in photography, nor indeed his eye for a brilliant photo. He has a great partnership with his Guide Dog, and a deep passion for photography, exploring Melbourne, the city where they live, looking for great objects to investigate. He considers that digital photography, which he began learning in 2008, opened up a whole new world to him.

Bruce meanwhile uses painting and illustration in meditative and dreamlike ways to explore hidden vistas of the visionary human mind, as well as explorations of indigenous lifeways and cultural realities to move his audience beyond the contemporary conceits of Westernised thinking into experiential realms that re-connect us as people and which have been described as “beyond the everyday” and “more intimately human…”  His unique visual style has taken him all around the world, with both solo exhibitions and work in touring shows in the UK, Germany, France, USA, Mexico, Spain and the Philippines as well as community development projects in South Africa, and he considers his art has vastly expanded the boundaries and experiential possibilities of his own life.

Sportspeople also seek to break beyond the boundaries of what seems possible, pushing their bodies and minds through sustained physical and mental training to achieve goals which previously might have seemed unattainable. While this true of anyone who takes their sport seriously, it is particularly appropriate for elite Paralympic and Olympic athletes: in so many different ways, the break out beyond their boundaries and inspire millions to do the same.

To celebrate the coming of the 2022 Commonwealth Games to Birmingham, and Andrew’s attendance as an official photographer, Andrew and Bruce are working towards a collaboration in which Bruce’s responds to selected images of Andrew’s sport photography. Andrew’s capturing of inspiring moments in the midst of sporting action will be re-purposed as painted images of the supernatural, imaginary and fantastical to symbolise the boundary-breaking ‘movement beyond’ which acts as a fundamental current to Andrew’s photography, Bruce’s art, and the Paralympic and Olympic athletes who push themselves beyond their limits to achieve greatness.

Ready Kid, 2012 and 2018

In August 2012, after Andrew’s photography exhibition in that year’s Edinburgh Festival, he stayed with Bruce for eight days, during which time Bruce got to see Andrew’s working methods close-up and in detail, wandering the twin cities of Leeds and Bradford with his former guide dog Eamon. One day, we found some young parkouristas practising their acrobatics in front of the Leeds Art Gallery, and Andrew began to take lots of photographs of the action. However, the image that proved to be the most moving and remarkable was this photo of a parkourista deep in concentration just before a leap, preparing himself, getting ready. This image is the seed of our project – we called it ‘Ready Kid’ – and in 2018 Bruce produced a painting to demonstrate how the collaboration will work.

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Ready Kid Andrew Follows 2012
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ELEMENTS of FOCUS

Elements of Focus is a new project where I will be exploring motor cars through photography. The cars in this project will range from some of the rarest to even a few more common examples, but they are being photographed in a way that has never been seen before.

Following my success at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, I will be heading to Japan in 2020 as an accredited Media Photographer. The Elements of Focus exhibition will be a fundraiser to enable me to go the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with my guide dog Leo, and a carer for the duration of the Games.

For this very exciting photographic project, I am being mentored by Dishan Marikar, one of the best car photographers in Melbourne. He will be mentoring me for the next 12 months to show me new techniques in car photography. I am very honoured and proud to have Dishan teach me new skills in this area of photography. This mentorship is proudly sponsored by the Pathways program at Arts Access Victoria and funded by NDIS under my plan.

I aim to raise $30,000 from this project, which will cover all costs for the Tokyo trip. I will need these funds for return flights from Melbourne to Japan, accommodation and transport for 3 weeks for myself, Leo and a carer for the duration of my trip to ensure my safety whilst in Japan. Details of the exhibition, to be held at the end of 2019, will be announced in the near future. Thank you to everyone who has already supported my goal for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

If you would like to be a sponsor for this exciting Arts Project please send me an email at andrew@blinkiephotography.com.au

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Flying Blind

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to be taken up in a helicopter for an aerial photo shoot of Melbourne.
With the door off, we took to the skies on a perfect, sunny morning. The flight path we took was from Essendon airport, flying at 1000/1500 feet, to North Melbourne, then over to Yarraville, then back over the West/North Side of the city to go onto Kew, where we flew over Guide Dogs Victoria and the new works on the Chandler Highway Road Bridge along with the old Paper Mills at Fairfield. After that we went onto St Kilda Road, flying over the Shrine of Remembrance and Government House, also over the new Metro tunnel entrance which is next to Melbourne Grammar School on St Kilda Road. We then started to head back via Richmond, taking in the MCG and the Yarra River flying over Flemington to land back at Essendon Airport.
It was the fastest hour I have ever had as I took just over 900 images.
Below are some examples of the photos I took during the flight.
I would like to extend my huge thank you to Rans Electrical and Melbourne Helicopters for a fantastic experience. I can’t wait to get back up in the air again to do some more in the future.
(Please click on the images to enlarge)

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

I attended this years Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast which was a thrill and very exciting time for my photography journey.
After receiving my media access to the games venues I set out to photograph the Swimming Finals, Weight Lifting Finals and an afternoon at the Gymnastics.
The swimming finals were brilliant and I would have to say was my favourite events to photograph as the Australian Swimming team were amazing in the pool.
It was exciting to meet so many wonderful people and even did a little networking.
Some of the highlights of the trip was of course photographing the selected sporting events, getting an invitation to photograph Prince Charles on his arrival at the swimming venue, meeting Ian Thorpe and meeting management of Nikon Japan.
I would like to extend a massive thank you to the following for making my journey to the Commonwealth Games such a great honour for me and Leo my Guide Dog.
Delly Carr is one of Nikon Australia’s ambassadors and is also one of the worlds best award winning sports photographers. Delly was instrumental in getting me to the commonwealth Games and to get me access to the venues where I joined other world photographers. Meeting with venue managers was very warm and had no problems at all. Thank you so much Delly.
I would like to also extend my huge thank you to Nikon Australia for their great sponsorship in loaning me some amazing camera gear during my games stay. Using the Nikon D5 was stunning and amazing camera to use. As a Nikon owner myself with my D800 the D5 was super fast, capturing all the moments so I didn’t miss anything.
To the Commonwealth Games Management committee. Thank you so much for a life experience so I could be part of the games as a photographer. The 2018 Commonwealth Games were known as the inclusive games where I didn’t feel out of place at all. It was such a brilliant experience and I am so excited to be heading to Tokyo Olympics in 2020 then onto Birmingham Commonwealth games in 2022.
I’m really hooked on Sports Photography now because when I see the images at home, that’s when I get excited as it takes me back to that moment of capture.
In 2020 I am looking at going to Tokyo for the Olympic Games. I am seeking support in sponsorship and funding opportunities. If you can help, please email me at andrew@blinkiephotography.com.au I am hoping to get flights, accommodation and transportation support during the Tokyo games. Will be taking my guide dog Leo and a carer with me to ensure my safety while in Tokyo.
Thank you so much to all!
(Please click on the images below to enlarge)

Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix

Thank you to the Australian Grand Pix Corporation for giving me a wonderful opportunity to have photography media pass for this years Australian Grand pix. It was amazing to photography the F1 cars on the track and to also capture the sporting classes over the GP weekend. Many thanks to Nikon Australia for their wonderful support and gear for this brilliant event in Melbourne.

Please click the images to expand.

 

Nikon Australia

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Nikon Australia for sponsoring me for this year’s F1 in Melbourne & the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast. With the D4S at the F1 in Melbourne & the D5 at the Commonwealth Games, I was so impressed with the camera’s functions and what they were capable of achieving. The D5 at the Commonwealth Games was sensational in capturing all the action of the swimming, weight lifting & gymnastics. Thanks again Nikon Australia, I am hoping to work with you again in the near future.

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