Robert Ormerod’s Doomen

  • One of my Lecturers suggested that I look at a project by a photographer called Robert Ormerod he photographer a project about people who fly doves called Doo Flying. His portraits of the people who owned these birds was the bit that I was interested in. They are beautifully composed naturally lit portraits of people in their homes with their birds. Although the birds aren’t directly interacting with the people you can see that there is a strong connection between these animals and their owners that I want emulate in my portraits.

       John proudfoot, 19, stands for a portrait in his friends living room Ex-builder, Dan Dawson 61, has kept horsman thief pigeons Paul Casment, 19, sits for a portrait with one of his doos Paul Smith, 43, with one of his birds in Muirhouse, Edinburgh Sinead Wilson, 11, stands with one of her favourite doos Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 21.27.42

    This series explores “Doo flying”, a pass-time which has been practiced in Scotland since Victorian times. Thousands, mainly in the housing schemes of Edinburgh and Glasgow, fly horseman thief pigeons, or “doos” from are lofts, bedrooms, living rooms and sheds often built by hand. Horseman Thief Pouters are a type of pigeon which have been used for hundreds of years to capture other pigeons. This is a unique trait of this particular breed and other breeds do not have the ability to seduce other pigeons back to their home loft. The sport of Doo-flying is based around the thrill of catching another dooman’s pigeons. The birds are firstly kept from mating as long as possible in order to ‘build up steam’. Doomen then send male or female birds up in an effort to entice members of the opposite sex, which belong to a fellow flyer, back to the hut. Men and women of all ages fly against neighbours, friends or relatives and have been doing so for the hundreds of years.

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