Despite his disability, Andrew Hayes has managed to find the time and courage to pursue his creative talent into higher education. Attending university was not be a feasible option for Andrew; a flexible, online course that would allow him to study from home was better suited to his requirements. Now studying towards a BA in photography with IDI Andrew is well on his way to realising his potential as a music photographer.

In 2009 Andrew had a life changing accident that forced him into early retirement. A broken back led to eighteen very painful months in hospital. Through sheer determination and with intensive nursing, Andrew eventually recovered the ability to walk; albeit with restricted movement and the need for “copious amounts of medication”. His determination to get back to his job with British Gas saw him returning as soon as he felt capable but eventually his disability became a problem and he was unable to continue. This came as a terrible blow but Andrew’s fighting spirit was not going to let it hold him back:

“Finishing work after thirty-four years is much like a divorce and it took two years to come to terms with the situation. I made a decision, if I was going to do anything; it was to be something I enjoyed and I was going to do it to a high standard.”

That something was photography. Andrew has been a keen photographer since his childhood when he would help his father as he developed photographs in his darkroom:

“I can remember being amazed as images miraculously appeared on special paper, which was stored in the forbidden cupboard. The deliciously intoxicating aroma of strange chemicals wafted across my nostrils as I watched my father with his special coloured tongs and trays perform his magic.”

Deciding he wanted to open the “forbidden cupboard” for himself and discover the magic once more, he resolutely decided not to waste any more time and chose to improve his skills and gain a qualification. With study at an attendance based institution ruled out, he began to research his other options:

“I scoured the internet, reading reviews and forums. Time and time again IDI came out on top. So after a year recuperating and soul searching I picked up the phone to IDI.”

Andrew’s accident gave him a new perspective on life and he decided to spend more time pursuing his hobbies for fun rather than financial gain. Focused on doing what he enjoys, however, he found success followed closely behind:

“Music and photography are my passion and I have found I can combine the two, photographing bands and concerts. I travel into London or maybe the South coast, taking pictures of up and coming bands, or successful tribute bands in their own right. I have made many friends along the way and found now, other genres of photography coming my way. A few weddings, family and baby shoots, it’s slowly building.”

Andrew’s early success has enabled him to speculate about what to do next:

“In 3-5 years I would like to be in the position of having bands ask me to shoot them, media passes arriving in the mail and actually getting paid what I am worth to them.”

With dedication, hard work and firmly defined goals, Andrew has found he is able to sustain himself financially doing what he loves most. Studying for a degree from the University Of Hertfordshire with IDI is helping him to build towards an even brighter future by teaching him the skills and techniques he needs to make it as a professional photographer.

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