As a photographer, I have realised that opportunity and timing is everything.
Of course, you can often make sure that you seek out those opportunities and that you are in the right place at the right time through careful planning and a large portion of patience. In other words, you make sure to be on location and ready to shoot for the golden hour when the light is warm and the shadows soft. Or you sit quietly in the grass as a bumblebee flies in and out of the small opening of the purple, bell shaped foxglove, to capture just the right moment before it disappears inside it, when the wings are standing almost still.
But to be honest, sometimes I have just been lucky. Or perhaps lucky is a wrong word to use, because it’s also about being able to see the opportunity of what could potentially be a really wonderful shot.
When I recently travelled home to Denmark, I suddenly found myself standing at my local train station at just the right moment. I was standing on the platform waiting for a train and as I looked around, I suddenly saw something and I just knew; this was the shot I had been waiting for.
The station had been renovated since the last time I was home and instead of a large, solid block of a building in the middle of the platform, they had put in new glass walls and skylight windows, which in the harsh, direct overheard noon sunlight on that Saturday created the most magnificent shadows and patterns on the platform ground. There were several layers of light, shadows and transparency and it completely transformed that dreary, gloomy station that I have been stood waiting at for so many years, while I grew up in this town. For a few moments, it turned the station into a place of magic.
If I hadn’t happened to have been there at noon, when the sunlight of that June day was directly overhead and not obscured by any clouds, the shadows would have been elongated and extended, reaching the ground at an angle instead of imprinting directly onto the concrete from above, illuminating perfect squares of light and shadow. If the temperature hadn’t been a perfect 20 degrees celsius, it would not have created the right tonal colours I was after. And if my train hadn’t had 6 minutes to arrive, I would not have had time to unpack my Polaroid camera, position myself at just the right spot to get the right composition and take the time to breathe out for a second, before making sure I captured the light exactly as my mind had already envisioned the shot.
I did not seek out or plan this moment. It came to me at an unexpected time and for that reason I treasure this photograph and the memory of it even more.