Following on my SOAP series – (Story of a Photograph)
Number 7: Angel of the North
The best moments are the ones which you just don’t see coming, but are eternally grateful that they do. I was away from home working at the time, up in the far north-east of England not far from the city of Newcastle; it was a dreadful day, heavy cloud, rain, more rain.
Not in short, a photo-day.
Still, hard to resist stopping at the famous Angel of the North sculpture to grab a few shots; 160-miles is a long way to come and not at least try. Stepping from my vehicle in a downpour I trudge through stair-rods of rain up to the monument; I was surprised to find that I wasn’t the only fool there, a couple huddled under a large umbrella met my arrival. I was initially slightly miffed, I had thought that the rain would have put everybody off and I would be the only visitor, with the place to myself. I was becoming uncomfortably wet, water trickled down my neck, what was I doing?
I persevered for a while longer, not happy with the shots I was getting; I wondered down the hill a little to see if I could get a better angle, turning I saw the couple were stood just above me.
I waited… waiting for them to leave.
The lady suddenly broke away from her male-friend and walked up to the statue again alone, her friend watching her go. I raised my camera thinking a shot of her with the statue would add some scale, to show how large the angel really was; I hovered my finger over the button waiting for the right moment… and then it happened, suddenly she ran, ran like a child, down the hill with her arms outstretched – as if mimicking the sculpture itself.
My very own angel!
I dare say nobody has ever done what that lady did that day, yet it happened at the very moment I was there, far from home, in the pouring rain thinking I was crazy just for trying; I like to think the Angel of the North looked down on me favourably that day and blessed me with a photo, I am not a religious person generally, but coincidence is a strange thing, I could return a hundred times more and get nothing; it is one of the things about photography that fascinates me, chance and the finger of fate.
Maybe rain really is a photographer’s friend?