Don't you love that expression?
Sometimes it leads to something surprisingly rewarding and magical.
After I moved to Byron Bay to live in the early 2000's after having lived in Bondi during the 90's, I welcomed a slowing down, a mellowing, new directions. I continued with my creativity, of course; working on what was going to be my second book of written works - poems, short stories, haiku and comedic fiction. I actually did finish it, even got it print-ready on Quark, but lack of funds at the time made self publishing it not possible. Then, the Mac that it was on - one of those coloured bubble ones - suddenly died and all 250 plus pages of it was lost.
I took it in stride, though, and moved on to the next creative project: a series of zines called 'Idle'.
On a whim, though, I contacted a photographer who I had got to know when we worked on some Japanese commercials together. I said to him that if he was ever shooting up in the Byron area, that I would be happy to help out, work as his assistant. I had never done it before, but photography was half of my major in art school, as well I had observed assistants on set and location many times over the years and was confident that I could handle it.
Maybe it was on a whim, too, that he rang me a few months later, saying that he was coming up for a shoot and was I ready.
It was a sharp learning curve and I was a touch nervous on the first day but I quickly became adept at all the requirements. He'd brought a veteran first assistant along from Sydney who was patient and mentoring.
That little job led to other shoots over the next couple of years - in Byron, the Gold Coast and Noosa. I became part of the team. He also referred me to a few other Sydney snappers and I got to help out on their shoots, also. It was mostly fashion - with gorgeous models, so I was smiling a lot. The teams were good spirited and fun loving and I was glad to have found a place amongst them. Being the lowest one on the totem, pay wise and responsibility wise, meant as long as I did my part with efficiency and style, I could be comfortably included in the teams.
A few years later, when I was visiting LA, on a whim again, I mentioned to a photographer friend there what I had been doing and he invited me along to assist on his shoots in and around LA. That was an extra thrill - shooting celebrities and being an observer/fringe participant in the glamour and hype that pervades the industry there. I worked on half a dozen shoots. There was some tension, especially with a couple of the actresses who had frail egos and were overly pampered. The most interesting, spirited and down-to-earth celeb I encountered was Greg Kinnear. He was delightfully, open and friendly and we had a splendid day.
Being an occasional photographer's assistant over those few years was an interesting and rewarding aspect to my existence that literally materialised out of nowhere and then disappeared just as ephemerally. All of it, from a faint notion, acted upon, and the smiling nod from the gods of serendipity. I like those gods and I'm grateful to them for the opportunities. They like it when you are open to adventure and willing to put out feelers. They reward you.
Where do they live, those gods? I don't know. But, it doesn't matter. They're never out of touch, no matter how dormant or non-apparent they may seem at times. So keep an eye out in left field. There could be a fly ball headed your way at any time.