The photograph that changed it all

A royal wedding. My Father's Jazz Band. A single photograph.

I was studying for my Master's degree in my student accommodation in Swiss Cottage, London, when I got a call from my Dad with some incredible news. The Jazz Band (Canal Street Jazz Band) he founded (50 years ago now!) in Madrid in 1966 had been invited to play along the route the Spanish Royal Wedding would take (the now King and Queen of Spain).

Realising what a momentous ocassion this was, my twin brother and I decided to fly back from London (where we were both studying) to be part of the celebrations. The 22nd of May 2004 was a very wet and miserable day, but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the general Spanish population to turn out in droves to see their new Prince and Princess.

The Canal Street Jazz Band were positioned at the top of a hill at Plaza Callao in Madrid, having a full sweeping view down the Gran Via. We positioned ourselves directly on the other side of the road with a perfect front view. As the motorcade came by it all got very exciting, very quickly. If anyone has seen the Tour de France in person it was a similar experience, albeit they didn't drive as fast as racing cyclists!

I set my basic point and shoot camera to multiple shot mode and figured the best way to pan, zoom and shoot - all at once. I figured a spray of shots would get me something, or nothing at all. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time just works.

In fact, the first shot I got was the shot. Looking at the LCD afterwards I could not quite believe what I had taken.  None of the band members were obstructing anyone else (which they usually do), you could easily see smiles on people's faces, and a very clear view and wave from the Prince and Princess.

Whilst it was certainly a bit of luck that I got that photo in that split second, it was my photo, and forever will be. That moment changed my whole connection with photography. It showed me the importance of being proud of the shot you created and the satisfaction of seeing how many people got so much enjoyment from it. My Dad still uses it to this day when promoting the band - as he says he doesn't have to say a lot more than just show the photograph - a picture says a thousands words. It sure does.