Farmer heads to Tokyo as official Paralympics photographer


Central Victorian farmer Drew Chislett is swapping cattle and crops for the excitement of the Tokyo Paralympic Games as one of three official photographers.

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.”

beautiful motorcross photo with rider ripping up some soft yellow dust
Drew Chislett’s passion for photography also grew from a love of motocross. (

Supplied: Drew Chislett


Important role

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.

Ryley Batt in action for Australia
Rugby player Ryley Batt (left) is a favourite to photograph. (

Supplied: Paralympics Australia


“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.”

woman riding a horse with a plush jacket on and a hat, jeans too
Drew Chislett also enjoys photographing equestrian events. (

Supplied: Drew Chislett


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.

man sitting next to a big camera with tractors in the backgorund
Drew is a self-taught photographer and picked up the skill 15 years ago. (




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