Around two and a half years ago I went to Oxford, that great seat of learning, I even wrote a blogpost on it; ‘I Went To Oxford You Know’ . Sadly not as a student of the classics, I am studying Street Photography though and yet I won’t be writing a Thesis on the subject. I use this Blog as a kind of journal to the progress of my education, I’m fairly certain that I’ll never graduate!
I already discussed Oxford in that old blogpost so no need to go over old ground. I read through it a couple of days and wondered if I’d learnt anything with regards to Street Photography since then. Actually, my approach has changed, although I can’t help thinking that my writing skills have deteriorated, that old post was quite a good read, comparatively speaking. Now, for those readers who aren’t interested in Street Photography and may wish to just see a little more of Oxford here’s a selection. I tried to document the City and it’s Colleges as I strolled around. Okay, I included people in these snap shots, but they’re mostly a side note as the objective was to give a feel of the place.
What I will say in addition to my earlier Oxford Blogpost is that they evidently don’t teach a Cycling Proficiency course. Bicycles are everywhere in Oxford, it’s tricky to take a shot without one zooming past and even more difficult not to end up being mowed down and thus in the Casualty Department of the local hospital. I looked at some of the old haunts, the Ashmolean is a good one to visit. I didn't go all the way around it this time, just into the entrance hall, which is rather grand;
I walked past all the well known landmarks, some of which are included in that grid of twelve. There’s the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Camera and all those colleges, Corpus Christi, Christ Church, Merton, etc and here’s one for anyone grappling with the ridiculousness of the English Language ; ‘Magdalen’ College. Logically you’d think it would be pronounced as Mag-da-len, it isn’t and should sound like Maud-lin as it leaves your lips. That’s at least if you’re in Oxford and don’t want to look a fool, of course there’s a lot of streets in England that are named Magdalen. I doubt trying to get a bus or taxi to Magdalen Street in Exeter will get you far if you start all that Maud-lin nonsense, they’d just stare at you with a puzzled look, because in this case it’s pronounced as Mag-da-len. Probably best to contemplate it whilst you suck on your pipe;
I also wrote about the eclectic mix of people in Oxford. Naturally we have the inhabitants and students…
…however, for a large part there’s a lot of tourists. Paying to look inside the colleges, especially any connected with the filming of Harry Potter. Forget that a college has been established for 600 or 800 years, oh no, let us see the ‘Whomping Willow’. They all pay and that must keep the College Bursars very happy.
We already know that the best plan for a street Photographer is to stay in one small area. To hang about where there are plenty of people. I’d been walking for miles and so before I headed home chose the area near the Bodleian Library. What I saw was a lot of Tourists with sandy coloured buildings as a background (just like my opening image to this post) and that led me to thinking that I may as well be back in Bath, my usual stomping ground. Another blogpost I wrote a while back rang true, the premise of which was that Life is about people and ‘Everything Else Is Just Background’ . It was great to visit Oxford, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride on my motorbike, but my kind of Photography, just like Life, is about people. I’ll leave you with a few more of our Tourists and their cameras at the Bodleian;
As always my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read this blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with Summicron 35mm Lens fitted.
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