Biography: After being given a Nikon F3 by his uncle and setting off on Highway 1 around Australia in 2001, Andrew's career in photography had begun. Soon after, he enrolled in Photography at TAFE and undertook work experience at The Australian Financial Review. After leaving TAFE at the top of his class in 2004, Andrew was employed by The Australian Financial Review, but it was the work that he did in his own time that began to attract the attention of the photographic community.
In 2006, he was promoted to the position of staff photographer for The Australian Financial Review Magazine, where he honed his portraiture skills with subjects of power and influence, and in the ensuing years was awarded a string of accolades, most notably an invitation to join the prestigious Australian photographic collective Oculi. Andrew was also invited to be the sole judge of the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize in 2009.
Andrew has recently returned from a year abroad where he photographed extensively through the USA, Mexico, Cuba and Europe. As he makes his way through roll after roll of transparency, he continues to search for inspiring and engaging subjects, and for people with whom he can share his photographic vision.
World Press Photo Award (2008), Walkley Young Australian Photojournalist of the Year (2008).
Artistic statement: The Mexicans photo series
As if casing the perimeter before entering, my Uncle Mark and I drove across the four US states whose southern borders are shared with Mexico's north. East from the Californian coast where the name Hernandez is as common as Smith, across Arizona's Navajo country, the lonely remnants of the folkloric Route 66, the humble highlands of New Mexico and through the acrid whiff of "black-gold" across west Texas. We skimmed the notorious barrier fence and later the majestic Rio Grande — the two dividers, one man-made, the other natural — that have come to symbolise so much.
The term "Mexican" is itself a crude colloquialism worldwide for the unwanted neighbour across the border. I had known it before I'd come, even used it in jest. Inherent vulgarisms like this on top of our chosen route would provide the basis for my preconception; one that had marked me like a stain before I'd even crossed the border from Texas into northern Mexico, but one that would wash off as easily as it had appeared the further from the divide I moved.
More of Andrew's work can be viewed on his website, andrewquilty.com. Andrew's exhibition, The Mexicans, will be on show at Maunsell Wickes at Barry Stern Galleries in Sydney from 17 May to 29 May.