Fountains of Fun

Grids of simple fountains, jetting water to random heights, are an increasingly common feature in many cities. There are 55 of them in the main courtyard of Somerset House in London. In winter the main courtyard has hosted an Ice Skating Rink for several years. Last summer it hosted Ai WeiWei’s Zodiac Heads arranged in a semicircle, and in the centre, the fountains provided a diversion as small children (and the occasional adult) ran between the individual jets some making every attempt to stay dry, while others set out with the deliberate intention of getting soaking wet. Oh, the simple joys of childhood!

A delightful little boy caught my eye as, with evident delight, he ran between the lines of water.

Fountains of Fun - click to enlarge

It’s a sad reflection on current attitudes to photographing children that I felt uneasy taking this photograph of him. But I reasoned that firstly he was in a public place and secondly this is simply a child having a huge amount of fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I went back to Somerset House a few weeks later with the intention of getting some carefully crafted shots of the Zodiac Heads (too many people were there on the first visit for serious photography) but the installation had finished and I was left with just the fountains.

Fountain grid - click to enlarge

This shot, with the water frozen, seemed to work much better in black and white with minor adjustments to curves and shadow/highlight.

Ai WeiWei’s Zodiac Heads are currently on a world tour that includes several major N American cities. Click here for details of the itinerary. They are well worth a visit if you live anywhere near their planned stop-overs. Here’s an image of one of them I captured on my first visit to Somerset House.

Zodiac Head - click to enlarge

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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16 Responses to Fountains of Fun

  1. imcconnell says:

    Great capture of the little guy Andy.

  2. Dave DiCello says:

    As always, what a cool series man! Love reading the write up too! That first shot reminds me of being a kid for sure

  3. Len Saltiel says:

    Great series Andy. I think the first shot is outstanding as you captured the boy’s joy in watching the fountains.Welldone

  4. Jimi Jones says:

    Great stuff, Andy. I like the detail in the last shot but that first one takes the prize. What a great capture. That youngster could not have posed any better. 🙂 Nice capture, man.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Jimi. I was using my Canon G10 and honestly I fluked it. Shutter delay is such a pain with a compact – but somehow I got it right with one foot right off the ground. Just don’t ask me to repeat that!

  5. Rick Louie says:

    What a great shot of the little boy! Fantastic!

  6. Curt Fleenor says:

    Wonderful set Andy! The boy in the first shot certainly does look like he’s having a lot of fun!

  7. Eden says:

    That top shot is so cute! Def makes you smile 🙂

  8. Wonderful shots Andy. I love the first one…great capture. He’s having so much fun.

  9. What a great set of images! I especially like that first one with the boy in the fountain, a great moment captured.

  10. Marcie says:

    Oh…I love these fountains that come out of the ground. We have some here in downtown Boston..and I – too – have been hesitant about photographing the children who are happily playing. Love the joy you captured here!

  11. Marc says:

    Great expression you captured on the little boys face!

  12. myallegro31 says:

    Andy, that first kid is so cute!!! Nice work! BTW, the skiing in St. Anton was PERFECT! Pictures to come.

  13. theaterwiz says:

    Great series! the first kid is awesome!

  14. ChrisdMRF says:

    I’m with Jimi, I love the last shot but the first one rocks it for me. I know what you mean about photographing kids though but worth taking the chance

  15. Andy, Great shot of the young boy, I like how you processed it! Nice series and article.

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