If you've been a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that spontaneity is a regular feature of the photos, and stories, featured here.
Meet Bill and Colin - one of my hitches from when I hitchhiked all the way around Australia, photographing everyone who gave me a lift and writing about each hitch (http://soididbook.blogspot.com.au/).
Bill (facing) and Colin (not), were my 10th hitch and they happened upon me in Tasmania. They were a couple of American guys on a three-week trip to Australia. However, they hadn't done their homework on Tasmania and had only allowed themselves two days to see the island! As a result, they were hurtling around Tasmania in the time they had. In fact, I'm surprised they had time to stop and give me a lift.
Anyway, they did find the time and, no sooner had I jumped into the backseat of their Nissan Bluebird hire car, then we set off at as close to warp speed as a Nissan Bluebird can go. After a few minutes chit-chat I spun my spiel of who I was, what I was doing and why I was doing it. They were cool and more than happy to be a part of my adventure.
During the course of the conversation I did the usual and asked them for their names, ages, where they were from and what they did. Bill, who was driving, was 30 and a computer software designer from Colorado. I duly jotted all this down.
I then asked Colin what he did. He and Bill looked at each other, smiled, and Colin turned and looked me straight in the eye - "I work for a branch of the government that doesn't exist."
My eyes widened. "So, you're a secret agent then?" I said.
He smiled and turned to face the front of the car again.
I didn't know what to make of it and the conversation moved on. I didn't want to press the issue in case he might have to kill me for passing on the information...or something equally ludicrous! Either way, I knew the photo of them was going to involve Colin being incognito.
The conversation never got back to Colin's secret agent status in the 45-minutes I was with them but I wasn't bothered as I was having too much fun.
When the time came for us to part company Bill pulled over. I had an idea of what I wanted to do for a photo, incorporating Colin's incognito 'performance' - a close up photo of their heads, with Bill looking at me and Colin with his back to the camera and the car behind them. I'd try a few variations of this idea but that was the crux of what I wanted to do.
We all got out of the car and, without saying anything, Colin leapt up onto the back of the Bluebird and stood up, facing away from me. As he did this, Bill leant against the car and the photo, as you see it here, was pretty much exactly as they had positioned themselves with little or no direction from myself.
I had been putting my bags on the ground and looked up to see them do this. I was set on the idea I'd formulated in my mind's eye but this was far better. I hadn't contemplated/pictured/factored in Colin jumping up onto the back of the car and facng away from me. It was exactly what I had wanted but more!
'Don't move!' I shouted at them and started taking photos with a couple of minor variations - Bill looking up at Colin, Bill looking at me...but all the while Colin facing away from me.
After no more than a couple of minutes the photo shoot was done and Bill and Colin sped off to discover what more of Tasmania they could in their allotted time.
FOOTNOTE - In 2009 I found Colin on Facebook and, while in San Francisco a short time later, we met up and I finally got to ask him more about his secret agent status. It turns out he's been bull-shitting me and was actually studying economics at the time. The secret agent story sounded much better. I shouldn't have been surprised and didn't really care. I'd been speaking about my hitchhiking journey for years and his "I work for a branch of the government that doesn't exist" story always got a big laugh and had helped sell many of my books at these speaking events.
Gear used: Nikon FM2, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 lens, FP4 125 ISO B&W film, around 1/250 sec f8.