Some of the most memorable photos are the result of being in the right place at the right time. In 2011, Hannah Huxford experienced this; she was visiting a seaside English town of Bridlington and her husband had bought a bag of fries. While eating them, they noticed a seagull nearby. “I started taking photographs [with an iPhone 3] of the seagull as my husband threw the chips (fries) at him,” Huxford tells My Modern Met. Among all the images, there was a special picture depicting the moment just before the bird shut its mouth on a delicious salty fry.
The image went viral shortly after Huxford shot it and, most notably, was featured by the BBC. And that might’ve been the end of the story; but on March 22, 2021, Huxford reposted the image to her Instagram and afterward received a curious DM. “I got a private message from a lady who was part of a creative company,” she says, “but at the time it’s from a private account so I ignored it.” Huxford thought it was a spam message.
The woman, however, was persistent. “She tracked me down through one of my blogs which had my email on it.” After telling Huxford that she worked for a design firm in London, she said that the company would like to license the image for a billboard campaign. After signing “a load of confidentiality agreements,” Huxford started to see her photograph used in advertising campaigns for Google across England and Ireland. The image will also be featured for 12 months online.
Since the Google billboards have appeared, Huxford and her husband have been snapping photos of the advertisement in the wild. “Seeing my photograph on a billboard was absolutely mind-blowing,” she shares. This experience has also inspired her to continue snapping pictures. “I am a creative person and it will now inspire me to keep going with my photography, and I hope it will inspire others as well in the art and the photographic world and the creatives just keep going. You never know who’s going to spot you. You never know when you’re going to have that big chance.”