Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
What is the greatest fear trigger? Is it sight? Is it sound? Is it circumstance? Is it our imagination? Is it a combination of all four?
I once watched a very interesting television interview with John Williams, who composed the soundtrack from the 1975 movie Jaws, based on the bestselling novel by Peter Benchley. Williams was chuckling as he narrated the incident of how the film’s director, Steven Spielberg, dropped in to listen to the theme music for the first time.
As he tells it, Williams sat down and played the simple, repetitive two-bar (or is it really three?) composition. Spielberg looked him in the eye and said something along the lines of "That’s it?" And at that point, Williams explained that it was a simple representation of the shark’s heartbeat, increasing in intensity as it circled its prey.
The way he told it, Spielberg took some convincing. But he relented and the theme music, instantly recognisable even when hummed, is now regarded as an all-time classic. And yes, the soundtrack won Williams an Oscar.
There was no background music playing when I took these shots three years ago. It was just a grey, cold winter afternoon when there was little colour along the banks of the Yarra. The bare, gnarled branches, stripped of foliage, caught my eye to start with.
Then I spotted the broken glass on the old lampposts (below) and I thought they’d make a great motif for a ghostly mansion. And no, the images haven’t been digitally altered. That ain't my style.
If you’d like to check out the tale of a flight that scared me some years ago, when the wings of the plane started to ice up, you can read it at B Is For Bairnsdale. I might have to borrow John Williams to compose the soundtrack for that one.
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