In Part 1 I already shared some images from the first ever Urban Portraits Dumfries project shoot outside Waterstones Dumfries with Moxie, Roman and their three delightful kids (and lots of books). As you remember, we used the magic bag technique. Moxie brought a bag full of unexpected items which we could use as props to stimulate ideas during our urban family photo session. One of these these surprise objects was a plastic tea set which inspired us to set up a picnic right in the centre of Dumfries.
Among all the street murals disguising the abandoned shops of Friars Vennel I noticed a two-panel piece that did not refer to a thriving trade or Scottish history. It was a purely decorative design made of dotted swirls and concentric shapes reminiscent of a colourful ethnic batik painting I once bought for our home when John and I got married. To me this mural seemed to bring out a fragment of the interior into the street, making it a sort of impromptu living space.
Our Friars Vennel tea party became a play on the ambiguity between the openly urban public location – on a pavement in the middle of the street, not in a park or on a lawn usually associated with picnics – and the private family ‘ritual’ usually happening indoors.
Once we arrived to the right spot Moxie and Roman took charge and I just recorded a snippet of family life in an uncommon setting.
It was a lucky coincidence that Moxie brought a blanket and a toy tea set (and some real juice and cookies) and I knew exactly the place in Dumfries where we could explore this creative tension between the inside and outside photographically. Somehow we were on the same brain wave!