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.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown accepts an invitation from Sue Fink to visit her hair salon as he speaks at the Honeywell Community Centre in Oldham, northwest England April 28, 2010.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

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.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks to staff and customers as he visits The Academy hair salon in Oldham, northwest England April 28, 2010.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

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.