Their often-poignant comments on how the pictures relate to their life journeys are set against the thought provoking images. The photographs are by renowned cinematographer Chris Howard, who has donated the profits to Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK).
The idea for Reflections in Colour was developed by Andrew and Chris Howard after they shared a fundraising ‘Kent Castles’ walk in Kent. After Andrew saw the photographs he contacted people from all over the UK to invite them to choose one of pictures and to give their reflections on them. The results were put together for a stunning online exhibition of pictures, which can be viewed through Chris’s website Crisp and Sharp, here. The popularity of the exhibition which has seen many people purchasing prints, has resulted in the development of two books. It is available in two forms. A smaller book which is great to read and pass around and a fine art book, perfect for the coffee table or to take pride of place on your bookshelf. Andrew said the wonderful artwork was incredibly impressive and inspired him to work hard to include comments from over 40 people for the exhibition which then led to the book. Chris said Reflections in Colour has become a brilliant way to give people a greater understanding of what it is like to live with a muscle-wasting condition.
For those with any type of muscular dystrophy these books can reassure you that you are not alone. It is not all about the photography. The stories in the books are powerful, they are emotional and will be relevant to anyone who has a disability, mental or physical. They come from a wide range of places, from Scotland to Cornwall.
The larger fine art book is A3, has flat lay pages and is produced in a paper which is of an extremely high quality photo paper which has been imported from Italy. In the book foreword, MDUK CEO Cat Woodhead said
This book is not only the work of a unique and colourful community but it’s also an illustration of friendship and generosity. Andrew Robertson and Chris Howard met through MDUK, and both have become outstanding fundraisers and supporters of the charity. Now they have pooled their skills and networks to present this beautiful collection of people, photographs and perspectives. Chris and Andrew had a vision that has come to life in the pages of this book, which I have no doubt will enthral readers for years to come.
We've seen people ordering multiple copies for presents for family members who are using it to explain to their family more about their condition.
As an example of how people react to the photographs, Andrew described what the image, Folkestone yellow hut means to him.
The vibrant colours, which are fun and playful, show that with the right mind-set, regardless of disability or where you are health wise you can still enjoy life. The sky conjures up images of travel by aeroplane and with it a slight anxiety of the complexities of travelling as an electric wheelchair user. The beach setting reminds me of holidays by the sea. If you can overcome the challenges of travel you can enjoy the freedom and excitement that it brings to explore new lands. Finally, the beach hut itself is an island surrounded by shingle stones. Virtually impassable by electric wheelchair. This shows that at times life with a muscle disease can be desolate and lonely, cut off from everyday life. Very few people understand how this can leave you feeling. Colour is everywhere. It’s above us, beneath us and all around us. It’s in how we feel and how we express ourselves. And since photographs are an invention, they are much more than just holding up a mirror to reality. These pictures are a meditation in colour on how our world can be seen and how it’s possible to see beneath the image. Perhaps the mental strength that is needed to cope with the everyday?
Louise Moffat, MDUK Regional Development Manager for London, South East and East England, said:
I am filled with admiration for the work Andrew and Chris have done to create this extensive exhibition which has now deservedly been turned into a book. I am very grateful to them for donating to MDUK through the sales. The images are beautiful and all a very high quality. I can’t decide which one I would choose to hang on my wall.