New Perspectives On The Historic Town Of Dumfries
A new exhibition of photography was launched at The Usual Place in Dumfries at the beginning of March and was due to finish next week, but because it has attracted so much interest it has been extended until Wednesday 26th April to give more people a chance to see it.
Past Shadows, Dumfries Through Time invites visitors to the award-winning café to wander through time in a series of photographs of familiar places around the streets of Dumfries. Viewers of the photographs are encouraged to look beyond what may at first seem familiar to discover shadows of change and connections to the past. PAST SHADOWS Dumfries Through Time will be displayed on the walls of The Usual Place cafe on weekdays from 9.30am – 4pm until Wednesday 26th April (please note the café is closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday)..
The exhibition has been created by Graeme Robertson of CPA – Centre for Practised Arts, Dumfries and explores 34 familiar scenes in a familiar town, presenting them in ways you may not have seen them before.
Using an average shutter speed of one hundredth of a second, the present day in Dumfries is captured in images representing about a third of a second in time. These present day images of the usual Planestanes, High Street, Sands, Fountain etc are masterfully blended with extraordinary historic photographs dating as far back in time as 1890’s which would have required significantly more time to set up and process.
This captivating exhibition is sure to be of interest to anyone who has ever passed through the streets of Dumfries and has been incredibly popular over the past month.
Change sometimes happens drastically, and sometimes it is subtle.
Craig McEwen, Chief Operating Officer for The Usual Place said: “When we first discussed the exhibition with Graeme we thought it would be really interesting for our many regular customers and it has been amazing to see how these photographs are capturing people’s imaginations and sparking memories and nostalgia. There have been lots of interesting conversations going on in the café and our trainees and their mentors are really enjoying chatting with the customers who are often travelling quite a distance to come and see the photos and enjoy lunch or an afternoon tea. The café is always a busy place, but it’s been great to see so many new faces and lots of groups of friends getting together to see the exhibition and enjoy a cup of coffee and a scone, so we thought we would extend the running time to allow everyone a chance to see it. Although we do recommend coming along earlier in the day if possible or booking a table around lunchtime”
Creator of the exhibition, Graeme Robertson said: “The purpose of this project is to show not only how much Dumfries has changed over the last century but also how much it has not.
In some areas ‘change’ has included whole scale demolition, whereas in others it has been confined to basic aesthetics. The majority of buildings are still in place although repurposed or somewhat altered.
By merging the images as an overlay sometimes the changes are not visible until examined more closely or the location of the area is recognised by the viewer.
The vintage images capture people, now long gone, in a moment of time, but either by chance or design their presence has left a shadow as a record that they worked, shopped, lived or simply passed through the area photographed.”
The criteria for the project were that all ‘now’ images were taken on iPhone and had to be edited within two minutes. This contrasts with the vintage photographs which would have taken significant time to both set-up and then process.
The exhibition runs during normal cafe opening hours in the beautiful Usual Place cafe.
CPA – Centre for Practised Arts will open in Dumfries, Scotland in late April 2023.
The Usual Place is a busy, award-winning café serving customers with a wide range of hot and cold meals, soups cakes, scones, lunches, afternoon teas and drinks. All produce is freshly cooked, baked and prepared by the team on the premises in the beautifully refurbished church on Academy Street.
Many customers are great supporters of the ethos of the café, however, few people really grasp the depth and breadth of the work that goes on behind the scenes and the huge personal achievements that go in to creating the welcoming, clean atmosphere and delicious food that so many enjoy. The café opens Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm. It will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.