Chambers definition: Serendipity - The faculty of making fortunate or beneficial discoveries by accident.
I love this word; It’s one of my favourites. To me it also ties in with one of my favourite poems – The Road Less Travelled, by Robert Frost.
Being serendipitous relies on having a curious mind and being prepared to venture out of one’s comfort zone, two things I'd consider I'm blessed with.
One such fortunate moment occurred at Glastonbury on Saturday. I had gone into the Croissant Neuf tent to see the end of a show by Screamin Miss Jackson and the Slap Ya Mama Big Band. Inside I was introduced to a tall thin musician called Mark Maddrell who had a very interesting look, including a short top hat and waistcoat. I was introduced as a Photographer and Mark mentioned that he was looking for an album cover for his new record. It transpired that he had just returned from Woodstock in the States where he had been recording his new album with Simone Felice.
It was a fortuitous meeting between Mark and I, as we decided there and then to take some photographs with a view to potentially using them on the album.
The Croissant Neuf tent is similar in style to a big top with thick, bold, red and white stripes, and Mark’s attire reminded me of a circus ring-leader. So, my mind slipped into gear and it wasn't that difficult to come up with a concept. But, as I got him into place we started getting heat from the security who were clearing the tent ready for the next band. It was tricky stalling them and taking the photographs, but we did it. Upon first look at the small camera screen, I was pleased with the results.
Finally we bowed to the wishes of security and headed outside where we parted ways. In all, we probably had 5 minutes together to get the work done.
Back home in Bristol last night I went through my work from the weekend, and found the pictures of Mark. I was really pleased with one or two of them. I did one of my usual black and white treatments of my favourite picture and emailed it to him. Not long afterwards I received a very excited email from Mark saying how stunned he was with the results and how it fitted perfectly with his style and taste in photographs. He went on to say how my digital black and white filmic treatment (using a Kodak Tri-X emulator), is a style that he can appreciate having fond memories as a youngster working in in his dad’s darkroom, listening to old LPs and watching the magic happen in the developing trays.
It's a feeling I can totally relate to.
The photograph is one of the preliminary shots that I took in our 5 minute session.