This interview is a part of a new series that highlights the story of the Traveling Umbrella. Each project participant is mailed the Traveling Umbrella and asked to keep it for about a week. They use it as a photography prop before they mail it on to the next person on the waiting list. Learn more at:
Participant: Dan Fergus
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Interviewed by: Rachel Fergus
If you have been to an instameet in Minnesota, you have most likely met Dan. You know him by the hat, and the camera that is usually pointed at people, more so than what is around him. Though Dan’s photography proves he has an interest in a plethora of subjects, he has a special niche for photographing people. The photos of family and fellow instagramers often include the Traveling Umbrella. When Dan had the ‘brella for a week, he had his daughter, Eliana, pose with the umbrella in strange locations- near the frozen Minnehaha Falls, under a bridge in Minneapolis, etc. Dan wrote that his favorite thing about having the umbrella was “the challenge of photographing a well-known prop in a new and unexpected way”. A unique combination of people, scenery, and the umbrella seems perfect.
Dan, along with almost everyone I have talked with, likes the ‘brella most because of how it connects peoples. “It provides a common touch point,” Dan began, “I fell a kinship to the other photographers involved with the project, no matter where they are.” Many instagramers that live in or around the Twin Cities have created a common bond, a friendship that revolves around social media, but also the face-to-face interactions of taking pictures with and of each other.
The beauty of the Traveling Umbrella is that “everyone, regardless of their culture, is able to find joy and beauty in such a simple thing as a photo featuring a colorful umbrella. We are more the same than different”. Photographing the ‘brella and sharing the pictures is “collaborating in a sense with many talented photographers all over the world”.