serendipity 1


Sydney December 2014 (2 photos)

In broad terms, serendipity means a “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”. It was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754. The notion of serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of scientific innovation.

The word was voted one of the ten English words hardest to translate in June 2004 by a British translation company. However, due to its sociological use, the word has been exported into many other languages.

It was quite a fortunate happenstance that there was a lone chair against a wall next to the pavement, for no apparent reason at all, with a man sitting on it and bathed in morning sunshine. Also that I just happened to be walking by, camera in hand, ready for whatever shot presented itself. Serendipity, indeed. I like to always be ready for the shot because candid photography is often about the spur of the moment.

Serendipity always rewards the prepared.

(Katori Hall, playwright)

And now for another fortuitous chair placement, and another moment of serendipity. It’s always a pleasant surprise to come across my old friend…

serendipity 2


More from Biggus later.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera



44 thoughts on “Serendipity

  1. And serendipity was at play when I happened to befriend a dragon…… that did not burn me alive. That I would call superserendipity. You always capture wonderful moments.

  2. I like the two pictures/one picture nature of your first shot – both halves could stand on their own but they work together too – the louvred panel providing a linking function too.
    ooohh, I’ve seen some discussions of serendipity
    my personal ‘definition’, in a photographic sense if you will, is it’s only serendipity if something appears in one of my photographs that I didn’t realise when I made the exposure. This may be something physical, or some juxtaposition coincidence, or something of that nature.

    • Thank you very much Stephen. I particularly like the “Rembrandt style lighting” on the man’s face, which was truly a fortunate happenstance. In street photography. I often see something in my photos that I didn’t realise was there when I took it.

  3. Entertaining as usual LD. And I see benches in the header photo!! What on earth is the woman on the left doing? (Actually you take a lot of bench photos, but generally with someone sitting on them 😀 )

  4. Love the man’s hands in #1…I think there’s a story there. Also…”Serendipity always rewards the prepared”–I will be borrowing that one in the future.
    Really…I’m glad you’re back. 🙂

  5. street photography surely counts on serendipity 🙂 but what is more important, you have the eye to see and appreciate the fortunate happenstance right there in front of you 🙂 love the first shot… just perfect!!

  6. Serendipity is a wonderful word. 🙂 Lovely photos Draco. The light falls so nicely in the first one! And what a fascinating character Mr. Biggus is!!

    • The pleasing aspect of the first photo is the classical lighting on the man’s face. Quite by accident, I achieved Rembrandt lighting. From Google, Rembrandt lighting is characterized by an illuminated triangle under the eye of the subject on the less illuminated side of the face. It is named for the Dutch painter Rembrandt, who often used this type of lighting.

      Many thanks, Elina. Have a wonderful weekend ahead. 🙂

      • I noticed the classical lighting in your photo, but I wouldn’t have remembered the man behind it. 🙂 Last year on my photography course we tried to achieve such lighting with studio lights.
        I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend!

  7. I love serendipity moments! And photographers desperately need them. I’m pretty sure some of the most brilliant pictures of people, weather or sporting events have been in those moments. My problem is, in terms of photography, I see the most awesome serendipity moments – without a camera. 😦 I have to hold them in my head – it’s not the same.

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