Andrew Newell, Teaching Assistant // ©Amanda Eatwell
The Story behind the Portrait
Downtime was a large-scale project that I undertook in 2015/2016. It culminated in an exhibition as part of Photomonth 2016, an international photography festival that takes place across East London. The project considers the relationship between what people do as a profession and what they do in their spare time. I am very interested in the complexity of humans and what choices we make in life. Downtime allowed me a little window into how people can find themselves with particular hobbies, sometimes by chance and sometimes through an unexplainable urge to try something out.
I found my subjects by asking around in various groups I belonged to, as well as contacting some organisations directly to ask if any of their members wanted to get involved. It was on Twitter that I found Andrew Newell when he replied to a shout-out asking for a lawn bowler. We exchanged some emails and agreed to meet at a bowling club in South London where I took this picture. Andrew, who is a learning mentor by profession, told me about his bowling journey, and about his ambition to take a Jamaican bowling team to the Olympic Games.
Andrew recalls watching Lawn Bowls on the television as a child. As an adult, he found himself strolling through Battersea Park where he frequently stopped off to watch the bowlers play. By the age of thirty, he finally bit the bullet and made enquiries on how to join. It didn’t take long to improve his game: the first season he was a standby player, and the next he was on the team.
Andrew’s parents were both born in Jamaica and he remembers telling friends years before he even started playing that he would take up bowls and play for Jamaica. At the time he assumed they had a national team, but the realisation that they didn’t set him on a crusade.
When I met Andrew he had spent the previous seven years or so putting every effort into piecing together Jamaica’s first Lawn Bowls team. The ultimate aim is to take them to the Olympics, but the sport (at the time) required four more countries to join around the globe to apply to become part of an Olympic Games. In the meantime, 2018 saw Andrew Newell and Mervyn Edwards lead the first Jamaican national bowling team to the Commonwealth Games, the first time a Caribbean island had ever played the sport officially. He feels it can only be a matter of time until he secures his full ambition of playing in the Olympics.
The project considers the relationship between what people do as a profession and what they do in their spare time. I am very interested in the complexity of humans and what choices we make in life.
Amanda is a freelance photographer based in London. She specialises in portraits and is interested in the psychology of people and the notion of place. Her work is exhibited regularly in the UK and abroad.
She is currently working on a long-term project called 4 x 4 x 4. The project is still evolving, and Amanda shares her anecdotes and musings via her blog. Through creating images of the people she meets and the mundane details within their environment she hopes to create a compelling social-documentary series.
Amanda was Editor of fLIP magazine for two years: her last edition was produced during the lockdown of 2020.
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