Tasmanian photographer offers free photoshoots for people who donate to Parkinson’s research
Photographer Callum Tully is always on the hunt for the next big shot.
- Callum Tully grew up around photography and then took the camera himself
- Mr Tully’s father died in 2014 after his health deteriorated from Parkinson’s disease
- Instead of payment, Mr. Tully’s clients decide how much they want to donate to Parkinson’s research
“As soon as you take a good photo and something that you’re really proud of and see the reactions of people around you who like it, it’s addicting in a way,” he said.
“Because you’re constantly looking for that, constantly looking for the next best shot. “
He wanted to continue developing his skills by getting into family and portrait photography.
“I don’t want to make any money out of it, I don’t think I’m at that level yet where I can treat it like a professional service,” he said.
“I was like, ‘This is worth something,’ so why not make it something that I’m passionate about as a charity?”
Mr. Tully grew up with photography, his father teaching the craft at the local school.
His father passed away in 2014 after his health deteriorated from Parkinson’s disease, so Tully felt it was natural to raise money for research into the disease.
Instead of paying for photos, Callum customers decide how much they want to donate.
Watching his father deteriorate was ‘heartbreaking’
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disease, recognized by symptoms such as tremors, slowness of movement and stiffness.
According to Parkinson’s Australia, it is the second most common neurological disease in the country and research estimates that more than 100,000 Australians are living with the disease.
Mr Tully said it was difficult to see his father battling the disease.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said.
“Because they gradually deteriorate over time, you can see the frustration and how hard it is to get trapped inside, they are kind of trapped in their own body as their body lets them down.
Mr. Tully said the response to his photography project from clients has been excellent.
“It’s amazing how Parkinson’s disease actually affects a lot of people running around in circles like me, I just never knew they had to go through this with a loved one as well,” did he declare.
“I have a client who wants me to photograph her honeymoon and it turns out her grandmother has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is struggling with her and she said, ‘We want to do this session and depending on what you’re doing there’s no one else we’d like to do.
“So that was really humbling and really nice.”
Parkinson’s disease is not just a motor disorder
Funds raised by Mr Tully will go to the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania.
Ruth Musgrove, post-doctoral researcher at Menzies, said community awareness of Parkinson’s disease is very important.
“This puts pressure on the government to continue funding Parkinson’s disease as well, so we really appreciate this contribution from Callum,” she said.
Dr Musgrove said research over the past decade has identified Parkinson’s disease as more than just a brain disorder.
“And that in fact, there are other systems in the body that are affected by Parkinson’s disease,” she said.
“I think this is really due to the greater communication between patients and their doctors.
“There have been more reports of bowel disorders and depression in Parkinson’s disease than we initially thought when we thought it was just a motor disorder.”
Dr Musgrove said researchers are trying to find a way to stop or slow the progression of the disease from the moment patients start to notice symptoms.
“What might not be a symptom of motor function, it could be intestinal disturbances or disturbed sleep,” she said.
“How can we work with the patient at this stage so that the disease progresses much more slowly or if it doesn’t even progress at all, that they can live a relatively normal life with these minor symptoms at the onset of the disease.”
Mr. Tully raised $ 1,350 in his first few months by accepting donations and hoped his contribution to the research effort would increase.
“Someday it would be great if, on an annual basis, we could raise enough money to do a scholarship,” he said.