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.
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.
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.