We are back for more urban portraits on the streets of Dumfries  with Suzi and her mum. It’s  the early stages of the project so I am still figuring out in what direction to take it. Should I make it light-hearted and fun? Moody? Thought-provoking? Scenic?

With Moxie’s family, the kids uber-active and all, the photo session quickly took a lifestyle turn. Here I decided to be more deliberate and pursued an idea that was inspired by the shadows and alleys of Dumfries, especially when Suzi mentioned the theme of travel/passage of time in out pre-session phone chat. Since it was a fairly dull overcast afternoon I got armed with an off-camera flash kit and John as my trusted human light stand to achieve the necessary contrast.

We started photographing in the nameless passageway on the side of Santander bank opposite the Midsteeple. I wanted the setting to allude to human connections and time so I shot up to avoid the bright colours of Farmhouse Foods store drawing attention to the arches and old street lamp metalwork instead. But, of course, it was silly to run from modernity and it promptly asserted itself in our portraits via the purple Panda graffiti.

Location portrait in Dumfries narrow alley
Urban Portraits Dumfries project – in the narrow passageway
Mother and daughter portrait
A tender moment

We then walked to Gashouse Close, another narrow alley off High Street with its rich textures of rusticated brickwork, rough plaster and tile pavement.

Portrait in Gashouse Close
Gashouse Close

I wanted to the overall feel to be playful despite the moody setting.

Urban portrait with off-camera flash
Enhancing the texture/structure with an off-camera flash

How many Doonhamers pass through this alley every day? They don’t linger there but walk briskly to their destination – you can almost imagine the ephemeral shadows on the tunnel-like walls, absences and presences, of people who used these lanes before us and will continue doing so after us, as long as Dumfries stands. The shadows of Suzi and her mum projected on the tunnel-like walls of Gaswork close  speak of the permanence of family ties and at the same time of human fragility.

Shadow urban portrait
Mother and daughter
Shadow portrait projection
Shadows and alleys – a projection of family bonds

The upcoming posts will cover more Urban Portraits Dumfries project sessions I had. Please come back if you are interested and follow my Facebook page for updates!

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