The trouble with photographing fire fighters is that from time to time someone will inevitably have a fire, maybe several. I don't have a problem with this, hey life sucks sometimes but why? OH BLOODY WHY did two people decide to have fires on the two days I go and do my final bloody shoot???!!!!
Shoot 1: Turn up at fire station, tape background to wall, set lights up, get camera out of bag to start test shots an what do I hear?.... I'll tell you what I hear, what can only be described as an air raid like siren followed by a mechanical female recorded voice booming over the air raid siren with the words "MOBILISE ALL UNITS, MOBILISE ALL UNITS!" And then I watch as my portrait subjects all hop into two fire engines and a support vehicle and whizz off with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing. I feel guilty as I stand there cursing my luck because I know that they are now on their way to save life from departing this mortal plain in the form of a six car collision with persons trapped or an RTC-6 as they referred to it as they ran past me. It's at this point that I remember why I'm here and why I chose these brave lads and lasses for my final project. They turn up an hour later and stand patiently for me....I felt my own existence pale into insignificance, it becomes clearer to me with every visit that these people really matter.
Shoot 2: I turn up at the fire station praying it all goes well, this is my last visit to Tadcaster Fire station before our exhibition. The guys are all on good form, the banter is upbeat and plentiful for 8am on a bank holiday Monday. All is going well, I'm halfway through this final shoot, there is a light at the end of the photography tunnel. And then I hear it....the air raid siren, the robot woman's voice...."MOBILISE ALL UNITS MOBILISE ALL UNITS..." and off they go, off to save another life. "Good luck boys and girls" I say to myself as I turn the 5D off.