Oxford, behind the lens - PHOTO

13:00 | 01.08.2014
Oxford, behind the lens - PHOTO

Oxford, behind the lens - PHOTO

The ‘city of dreaming spires’

Each year, thousands of visitors flock to Oxford to wander through peaceful, winding lanes and famous colleges. But photographers are especially spoilt for choice in this city in southeast England, where the beauty of a historic university meets a picturesque county town. Growing up near Oxford, I have spent years photographing – and falling in love with – my home city. Some of those shots are shared here, where I have aimed to capture the vantage points and centuries-old stories that few visitors notice at first glance.

Late one afternoon, I took a sneaky look around All Souls College just before it shut its doors to visitors for the day. In the summer sun, with a blue sky above, Codrington Library in the north quadrangle became too tantalising not to photograph. The beautiful sundial (one of many around Oxford’s colleges) was a stunning centrepiece to this quiet inner sanctum. The entrance perfectly framed this very symmetrical shot, as a pair of ordinary hose reels standby, ready to water a flawless lawn. Camera on cameraThe Radcliffe Camera (Camera means “room” in Latin) stands proudly between the colleges of All Souls and Brasenose. It can be hard to squeeze a building of such great beauty into one shot, and I found that the best place to photograph it is from the tower of St Mary the Virgin church next door. The Radcliffe Camera was built between 1737 and 1749 and currently acts as a reading room for the nearby Bodleian Library. Constant carvingPhotographic inspiration can be found in unexpected places – even away from the sun and the stunning scenery. While walking around St Mary the Virgin church, I noticed an old, elaborately carved 17th Century pew. The sun was glancing down from the window, illuminating one end of the pew and highlighting the carpenter’s workmanship. This particular pew sits up against one wall of the church, slightly away from the main isles so it can easily be passed by.Rooftop wonderlandFor striking photographs of Oxford’s skyline, the journey up the winding tower steps of St Mary the Virgin are well worth it at sunset. The city’s ancient rooftops get bathed in a warm glow (slightly reminiscent of scenes from Mary Poppins). Here, I paired the top of the Radcliffe Camera with the Sheldonian Theatre, as their roofs really stand out against the yellow sandstone buildings and green tree line. Etched in historyGraffiti is all over Oxford if you look close enough. But we’re not talking modern works of art; instead, it is old school tagging. This particular example can be found at the top of St Mary the Virgin’s church tower. Possibly done by some of the city’s past students, it’s a mark of other explorers who have sought the same view of Oxford’s rooftops – just several hundred years earlier. Hedonistic headsWalking past these huge busts outside the Sheldonian Theatre, you can almost imagine them turning and speaking. For architecture fans, the theatre was designed by Sir Christopher Wren (architect of St Pauls Cathedral in London). For those of the bearded persuasion – each of the 13 heads around the Sheldonian sports a different style of beard (a sort of Bee Gees of the bust world!).Messing about on the riverThe rivers Thames and Cherwell both flow through the city, making floating one of the best ways to see Oxford. Hire a row boat, punt or pedalo at Magdalene Bridge and take a relaxing trip along the water. Pictured here, a mass of row boats await interested customers. Despite the boats resting in a beautiful location, I decided on the close-up shot as it is full of colour and conveys a relaxed pace of life often associated with drifting along in a row boat on a summer’s day.Market researchOxford’s Covered Market has been a true bastion of local produce since opening in 1774 – rare in today’s supermarket society. The sheer range and colour of the fresh produce on this market stall screamed for a photograph. Classic OxfordTo me, Oxford looks best in the early evening, when the buildings cast giant shadows across roads, parks and people. It also is one of my favourite times to take photos as it is the time when the city switches from a busy hub of tourism and learning to a more relaxed, serene place to hang out.(BBC)Bakudaily.az

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