Central Victorian farmer Drew Chislett is swapping cattle and crops for the excitement of the Tokyo Paralympic Games as one of three official photographers.
- Drew Chislett is one of three official photographers at the Paralympics
- He is a self-taught photographer and previously took photos at the Rio Paralympic Games
- His favourite sport to photograph is wheelchair rugby
His Durham Ox farm office desk has farming invoices on one side and camera gear on the other as he prepares to fly out on Wednesday.
He will be isolating before competition starts on August 24.
Mr Chislett, 44, is self-taught and credits social media for helping him to craft his skills 15 years ago.
“I spent time in Canada and, in an attempt to keep in touch with family, kept posting images and photographing events,” he said.
“I started to get noticed by professional photographers and it evolved into being called up for the Rio Paralympic Games five years ago.”
Mr Chislett says although Tokyo will be far different from Rio, he suspects his role will be highly important.
“Rio was hard work though, you survived on about 4 hours of sleep a night,” he said.
“I’m a bit of a chatty fella, I love the interaction part with the locals and the athletes. A lot of that is going to be lacking this time.
“They are not going to have as much of a support team there either.”
Mr Chislett is prepared for the ‘”gruelling” and “hectic” two weeks ahead.
“I guess we see our role as a large one this time,” he said.
“You can sometimes be shooting up to eight events in a day and get to six different venues. We have to shoot 180 athletes.
“I got known as ‘the running photographer’ in Rio. I was just a blubbery ball of sweat with camera gear hanging around me.”
In awe of the athletes
Mr Chislett is hopeful he will be photographing table tennis and rugby.
“The discipline, the hard work and the determination that these athletes have put into get there, it’s huge,” he said.
“I love photographing the wheelchair rugby. My favourite athlete is Riley Batt.
“He’s an absolute warrior of a person, genuine, interested kind of guy.
“I was awestruck seeing the strength, the determination, and fight these guys have.
“It’s reflective of how hard they’ve fought to be where they are in their own lives.”
Mr Chislett also loves the atmosphere between the athletes.
“They’re incredibly humble people. Everyone on the team is so supportive of each other,” he said.