On tightly-choreographed campaign trails there aren’t many photo moments that haven’t been carefully planned beforehand by spin doctors, so when Gordon Brown made an impromptu visit to a hair salon in Oldham, there was a ripple of excitement.
Such unscripted moments create great opportunities for photographers because they offer a glimpse of reality and inject a human element into often monotonous days of speeches, handshakes and platitudes.
Brown had been pressed into visiting the Academy hair salon by owner Sue Fink, a brassy woman who wouldn’t take no for an answer when she collared Brown at a community centre. Brown, appearing embarrassed, mumbled his consent.
So Brown’s entourage traipsed over the road to the salon, where his minders – clearly wary of straying from pre-arranged programme – tried to stop the press entering. Fink was having none of it, throwing open the salon door and inviting them all in.
The spin doctors needn’t have worried; it was a rare moment in which a chuckling Brown, warmed by Fink’s good humour, offered a genuine flash of the human being that he often struggles to project.