This is my first attempts at playing with shutter speed and aperture. I wanted to try to capture movement. I'm getting there with the focused foreground and blurry background but having a little trouble vice versa. These photos are a nightmare to take. I wanted a typical Oxford shot - "cyclist in front of the Sheldonian" but Broad Street is so busy at the moment, full of tourists and red buses it's hard to pan with the movement without something else getting in the way.
This is one of the first photos for my Oxford Series. The city is such a great place to photograph with its ancient colleges, hidden alleyways and secret gardens. I've heard it described as a "scholars fairy-land", which is certainly one side of the city. The city that the tourists see, the city that the university students holed up in the comfy colleges see, the city that exists in novels and poetry. But there is another much darker side to Oxford. Alan Human puts it perfectly:
At the lowlife end of Oxford there's three basic scenes. There’s the loony scene, there'’s the drugs scene, and there's the ordinary down and out scene, which is the street scene, having no money. They do overlap, but they are distinct scenes. On the loony scene you get snapped up by the loony industry - the mental health industry - and they never let you go once they've got you. They supervise your life at some level or try to. You'’re in a scene where youÂ’re always mixing with loonies. The drugs scene does partly overlap, because some loonies turn to drugs to keep their experience within bounds, to block out the bad experience. I don'’t do the drugs scene at all myself. The down and out scene is the kids between 16 and 25 who are homeless and so on. They get a really bad deal because they get an income of about £25 a week I think, and they'’re expected to keep themselves in cigarettes, food and shelter for that.
I am going to attempt to capture all of Oxford, not just its veneer. Its people, its grime, and its real beauty.
Title from Thyrsis a poem by Matthew Arnold.