Mrs Green’s Tea Lounge has a wonderfully retro feel to it – from the menus tucked inside vintage children’s books, to the 50s style clothing Mrs Green herself is usually wearing. It’s not theme specific, or nailed to one particular decade – items of décor range from pre-war to the 70s and beyond – but a general sense of nostalgia hits you at every turn, triggering memories from childhood or even visits to grandma.
The atmosphere and staff are warm and friendly so once discovered you keep going back. For a place that’s not been open that long, it has an intensely loyal customer base. A quick check on Trip Advisor shows it ranked number 1 of all the eateries in Dumfries, and it doesn’t surprise me at all.
With her love of dressing up and attention to detail, it felt like an ideal match when we started discussing doing a photo shoot.
Chatting with Mrs Green it became clear her tea lounge wasn’t so much a place as a state of mind. This opened up all sorts of possibilities – we didn’t need to be restricted to the café itself.
Across the summer ideas were bounced back and forth, dates were pencilled in and then rubbed out again, and for a wee while I was beginning to fear it might never happen.
However, I needn’t have worried. Not only did it all come together, the time and effort put in by Mrs Green and her staff to make it work, blew me away.
The photo shoot took place at the Dumfries Aviation Museum and involved not just Mrs Green but 6 of her staff who had also gone to great lengths to find retro outfits. The fact they were not only all dressed up, but had given up their Sunday afternoon for the shoot was testament to the passion they all have for the concept.
Editing the photos was a bit of a challenge. I decided I wanted to give the photos a retro feel, which involved playing around with colour overlays, hue and saturation adjustments as well as fading the contrasts to a degree. Additionally, the original seat covers in the plane were bright red, and this meant the wonderful dresses of Mrs Green and Tracy were swamped rather than standing out. It took me a while to find a colour that worked and then even longer to selectively change them all.
And of course, when it came to the cockpit shot, I couldn’t exactly leave in place the view through the windows of the car park on a dull day.
I added similar layers of colour and contrast shifts to the video to give it the same feel:
Many thanks to all involved – from Mrs Green and her staff to the Dumfries Aviation Museum and Tom Langlands.
It’s projects like this that keep me truly excited about photography.