Serendipity

by JB on October 8, 2015

Serendipity is something that makes me glow with happiness. Photographers often have ideas about what an image should look like, how we will make it happen and what logistical stuff we need to do to enable the practical realisation of our imagination.

What we don’t factor in is serendipity. We can’t. How can we? Serendipity is defined thus:┬áthe occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I had a serendipitous moment this week, let me explain.

I found myself in the unusual position of having a client postpone on me just hours before we were due to shoot. Whilst it was frustrating sometimes there’s nothing you can do. If their product isn’t ready and hasn’t reached them we can hardly shoot nothing.

Left with all my kit primed and ready to shoot I didn’t want to just pack it all up and do nothing. I sat down, had a coffee and decided to go and find someone to shoot.

First person I found was Luke. Luke is a cleaning contractor and was making his way around the building fulfilling his duties. I asked him if I could take a portrait of him and it would take 2 minutes.

He arrived on set with┬áthe tool he’d been using and I showed him where to stand. I asked him to keep hold of the brush thing as it gave some context. As I was saying this a spider dropped down from the brush head and sat suspended by its thread. I immediately told him not to move and ran round switching the lights on, grabbing my camera and framing up.

I shot a frame.

The flash of the lights frightened the spider and it climbed back up into the brushes for safety.

It was the only frame with the spider and the only frame I wanted to use. Serendipity in action.

This image is part of the Fifty50 project by Bristol based photographer Jonathan Bowcott. Fifty50's aims are: fifty black and white portraits using the AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 G lens. The subjects are drawn from all walks of life in the Bristol area. Inspiration is drawn from the 60's portraits taken by David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Duffy and Terry O Neil, to name a few. The resulting images will be made into large scale prints and exhibited at a local (Bristol) venue. Whilst not a profit making exercise if any profits are made then 50% will be split between 2 charities RNIB and Guide dogs for the blind. (JONATHAN BOWCOTT)

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