Whether “Spring in the city” was a challenge on some street photography forum or a topic for a photo walk I do not remember now. What I remember is feeling inspired by the idea of pairing the organic and the industrial for this previously unblogged urban blossom portraits on the banks of the river Nith with Lauren and Shannon.
There was no need for scouting for this Urban Portraits Dumfries project session. John and I admired a gorgeous row of flowering cherry trees from Troqueer cemetery to Robert Burns Centre every time we walked into the town centre.
The ornate entrance of the Victorian pedestrian suspension bridge at Mills Green was flanked by clouds of pink cherry blossom and epitomised the concept of “urban spring” for me in particular.
This 1875 bridge, designed by John Willet and carrying its graceful chain-link cables and lattice-truss spans over the river Nith, already featured in my earlier shoot with Lucy and Matthew. But only with cherries in full bloom it looked truly picturesque, as industrial wrought iron structure converged with a triumphant life-affirming nature through the pastel colour harmonies of pale sage-blues of the bridge and delicate pink flowers.
Truly, the bridge appeared as “an airy graceful thing of beauty that might have been conjured into existence by the wand of an eastern magician”, as it was described at its opening.
I looked for young girls for urban blossom portraits in this location and sent out a model call on Facebook. Lauren and Shannon’s mother “volunteered” them to take part in my project so I had never met them before.
Our “warm up” segment was stressed by a flock of the girls’ teen mates who turned up to watch (and comment). Once we moved further away from spectators Lauren and Shannon could finally relax and have fun on Mills Green with the view to our pretty bridge and the blossom.
I tried to enhance the majestic canopy of flowers overhead by photographing the girls under the beautiful cherry tree from a low angle. I didn’t want the traditionally expected pretty pastel blur in the background as the excessive bokeh would have obliterated the charm and the vibe of our urban location.
So we adjusted the depth of field, setting more textured and random organic blossom in contrast with the regular geometric repetition of iron railings to highlight the “urban spring” theme. We also explored the frames formed by the hanging chains and experimented with the symmetries of Doric cast iron pylons and their synchronicity with the standing girls’ body lines.
In the end, I was happy how Lauren and Shannon played along to bring the concept behind this shoot into life!