Spontaneous always wins (well, almost always)

March 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


A FUNNY thing happened on the way to publishing the Adelaide City Council’s Annual Report. The cover shot I was commissioned to shoot got dumped. The one I never meant to shoot got used. Here follows a tale of the power of spontaneity.


The shot I had captured specifically for the cover of the annual report ticked all the boxes. The brief stated: “Rundle Mall, showing vibrant engagement with colourful pop-up business operation if possible, hide construction work in progress”. Knowing the client well, I also knew there were particular types of signage that should be avoided (or dealt with in post). So I set up a shot at a pop-up florist, which offered the advantage of an easily arranged splash of colour and, despite being a staged shot, is pretty much what anybody might see if they walked down Rundle Mall. Fabricated, but real.


However, later in the month, I was sent to a CBD playground that had recently been remodelled, or rejuvenated, or redeveloped, or re-something, to shoot a family having fun with the new equipment. 


That’s when this shot happened. The playground had a series of small trampolines - and when I say small I mean like about a metre square - that were designed for hopping from one to the other. Lots of fun, guaranteed. I even had a go myself. So with directions given, each member of the family (actually, two showed up to the photo session) started hopping over the little trampolines having a whale of a time.


After a manner, this shot was orchestrated, so you might argue it was not spontaneous. Except there was no way of knowing the youngest participant would give the most perfect jump with the most perfect expression. Try and repeat it - and we did - and, well, you’re just kidding yourself. And so it came to pass that this image, which so perfectly encapsulated so much of what the Adelaide City Council had tried to achieve during the year in focus, was chosen for the cover ahead of the Rundle Mall shot.


So off the cover goes the Rundle Mall flower seller. On the cover goes the cute girl caught in mid-air. Of course, it should come as no surprise that this joyful moment was so well received. I’ve shown wedding shots to clients who put a high value on the heirloom shots we worked at to achieve but take greater delight in the candids. When I’ve shot tennis, the players like their “hero” shots where I capture the big double-hander backhand but are just as thrilled if not more so when I capture a perfectly timed moment during a doubles match when two players high-five a winning point.


And that time they hung me over Memorial Drive tennis courts from a sky crane being used for the Adelaide Oval redevelopment? My favourite shot will likely never see the light of day but it came after I stopped taking overhead captures of the tennis action and turned my camera on the two guys behind me in the "dog box"  who, while there ostensibly to ensure my safety, also were enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch some world class tennis action from 30 metres above centre court. Best seats in the house, so to speak, and their beaming smiles were the proof of it.


Spontaneous always wins.



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