Portfolio: Norman Lomax
It was at a swimming pool in Weymouth that Norman Lomax first saw Sue Austin propelling herself through the water in an adapted wheelchair – and it was something of a eureka moment for him. "As a photographer," he explains, "the best stories are of ordinary people doing extraordinary things – that's what I saw here."
Austin is a disabled artist who is putting on a show as part of the Cultural Olympiad, an umbrella organisation for 25,000 artists creating 12,000 events around the Olympics. And it was her ambitious idea to capture a series of underwater performances on film that led her and Lomax to the diving mecca of Sharm-el-Sheikh, by the Red Sea.
The result is a series of seascapes in which shoals of fish swarm around sun-dappled coral – and the less-expected sight of Austin. Clothed in a summer frock, her arms are outstretched as she freewheels through the sea in her NHS wheelchair, which is fitted with thrusters and two large Perspex wings strapped beneath her feet for manoeuvring.
"Watching Sue fly around the reef was incredible," adds Lomax. "It looked like an extraordinary underwater ballet. It also broke down a deeply engrained perception that I had of disability that I think a lot of us share."
For details of live pool performances and screenings, visit wearefreewheeling.org.uk
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Taylor Swift, 1989 - album review: Pop star shows 'promising signs of maturity'
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - review: Silly, sensational but still sensitive
The Apprentice 2014: Nurun Ahmed and Lindsay Booth sent home in double firing
Breaking Bad season 6 hoax: Vince Gilligan has not confirmed a new series
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are