The Oxford Canal 1769-2019

This is the 250th Anniversary of the passing of the Oxford Canal Act 1769 which created the enterprise that would build and manage the canal. Accounts vary slightly but the Nicholson map of the canal suggests that it is 69 miles long.

My project aims to document the canal as it is today at 1 mile intervals over the course of 2019. A variety of images, both documentary and ‘contemporary’, are being prepared and processed in different styles. The output will take shape as more images are produced.

The southernmost point of the Oxford Canal today
Mile 1
Mile 7
Mile 8
Mile 9
Mile 10
Mile 11
Mile 27
Mile 28
Mile 29

Lower Heyford Village Fete 2018

Thank you for joining in the fun of the fete and letting me take your photo in our pop-up studio.

Don’t panic – these are only thumbnails!  You have not lost the top of your head.  Simply click on any thumbnail to open up large images in a “lightbox”.

To download your image, wait until it appears in the “lightbox”, then hover your mouse over it, this should stop any scrolling.  Now RIGHT CLICK and select “Save image as…”.  This will download a full size image which you are welcome to use however you would like.  (Mac instructions are different, but if you have one you will already know this!)

If you want to get a print for framing, then copy the file you have downloaded onto a memory stick or into your phone’s memory.  For perfectly good prints you can use the DIY printing station at places like Boots (there’s one in Summertown, for example).   Alternatively, for a really superb print, you can pop into Imagex on Bicester High Street – the guys there will help you get the best image and they are very reasonably priced too.

Any other questions, do drop me a line on graham@utopia.photo and I will do my best to help.

Courses

The following courses are planned, usually through other organisations, as I prefer to focus on facilitating a good event rather than selling spaces. Please follow the individual links to discover more and book a place. I am always happy to run courses in general, documentary and street photography; let me know if you’d like me to help with something…

Digital DSLR Photography – Stage 1 (Cooper School)

This course is for the owners of a DSLR camera or similar that allows users FULL manual control. Designed for complete beginners, though photographers with some experience may find it a useful to refresh their memory on certain techniques, the course aims to get you to a level where you can confidently grasp the fundamentals of DSLR Photography. During the course you will explore the camera’s functions, look at the technical side of photography, and what is needed to create the perfect picture. You will then have the opportunity to explore the more creative side and open your photographer’s eye.

Time: 19:00 – 21:00 | Days: Tuesday | Date: 25 Sep 2018 – 04 Dec 2018 (except 23 Oct 2018) | Location: Cooper School Bicester

More details and to book: CLICK HERE

Developing our Personal Documentary Projects

A practical workshop exploring ways of taking our personal projects to the next level

The difference between a successful project and making no progress is usually down to motivation, clarity, and networking. This practical workshop provides an opportunity to explore your own documentary photography ambitions, to benefit from the experience and interest of peers, to build a network of like-minded supporters, and to find the confidence to raise your game in the field.

Whether you have one short-term project, a series of many, a major long-term one, or too many ideas and not enough time, we will help each other to clarify their scope, fill in the gaps in our plans, identify the hurdles to realising them, then plan to address them, share our enthusiasm, and develop a team of willing supporters and ambassadors to keep us on track.

If you want to have more impact, reach wider audiences, realise a long-term ambition, take the next step in your career, bolster your reputation, or simply stop putting off something that you have meant to do for ages, then this small-group workshop could be ideal for you.

The session will be facilitated by Graham Wilson, a Tutor in Psychology at the University of Oxford, course leader in coaching, a photographer himself, and sub-editor of the Decisive Moment.

The workshop will take place in the Family Room of the Victoria Arms, Old Marston, Oxford.  Drinks and refreshments will be available from the bar throughout.  The participants will have dinner together at the end of the workshop to provide more time for personal networking, and informal conversation.

Date: Thursday 11th October
Time: 2:30pm to 8:00pm
Venue: The Victoria Arms, Old Marston, Oxford
Contact: Graham Wilson

Digital DSLR Photography – Stage 2 (Cooper School)

A 10 week digital photograph course following on from Stage 1; enabling you to further understand your DSLR or bridge camera, looking at additional features and equipment to enhance your photography skills, the use of lighting techniques, e.g. painting with light, evaluation of photos, genres such as night, still life, documentary and landscape. Experiment with your camera’s functions, such as on camera flash and manual mode; and to build your skills and confidence. Discover the best lenses and filters for individual situations. Practice and develop your confidence in using the camera in manual mode. Explore the rules of composition and how they relate to different genres.

Time: 19:00 – 21:00 | Days: Tuesday | Date: 22 Jan 2019 – 02 Apr 2019 (except 19 Feb 2019) | Location: Cooper School Bicester

More information: BOOK HERE

Digital DSLR Photography – Stage 3 (Cooper School)

A 10 week digital photograph course following on from Stage 2; enabling you to expand on your skills with your DSLR or bridge camera by looking at the work of famous photographers in a variety of genres and completing practical tasks. To further experiment with your camera’s functions; to explore different genres through discussion about famous photographers’ work.  To build up your skills and confidence in a variety of genres such as; architecture, black and white photography, documentary, landscape, lifestyle portraits, sports, still life, street, studio*, nature, wildlife and macro photography. *Please note studio photography will not be taught at all centres. The genres taught are at the discretion of the tutor.

Time: 19:00 – 21:00 | Days: Tuesday | Date: 30 Apr 2019 – 09 Jul 2019 (except 28 May 2019) | Location: Cooper School Bicester

More information: BOOK HERE

The Emotional Response

When we look at an image it provokes a uniquely personal emotional response. The great photographers know how to stimulate this. The first step is to understand ourselves and to know where our own emotional responses come from. This short ebook looks at this process in more detail and then gives examples illustrating the kind of self-analysis that you can use for you own work.

Click here to download: http://utopia.photo/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Wilson-GB-2018-The-Emotional-Response-FULL.pdf

Print, Kindle, and Apple versions available here: http://www.blurb.com/b/8475654-the-emotional-response?ebook=651371

Objectification

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Treating a person, an animal, and even (under some circumstances) inanimate objects themselves, as an object or a thing with limited rights is known as objectification. There are plenty of ways in which this is achieved; treating them as a tool for another’s purposes, as lacking the wherewithall to make up their own mind, as interchangeable with someone or something else (lacking “specialness”), as something you can damage indiscriminately, that can be owned or sold, without concern for their feelings. In a sexual context, ignoring the whole and focusing on (body) parts, ignoring anything other than appearance, and treating them as though they have nothing to say.

Photographers, frequently portray their subjects in ways that could be described as objectification. Much ‘glamour’ photography, especially if it is taken without a purpose other than for the satisfaction of the photographer, would be an obvious example. A documentary about a group of people already marginalised by society where the images and text do nothing to advance their interests and condition, would be another.

Therein lies the clue… context is all important. An image in isolation, may appear to objectify the subject, but might be given context by other images and by explanatory text.

One person, in a position of authority and in a situation where I had no opportunity to respond, criticized my street photography claiming that it was voyeuristic. A simple analysis showed that, if it is, then it’s a lot less so than many well known, and highly regarded practitioners of the art. My argument would be that my images always have a context – usually one that is very clear to a casual observer. Occasionally, the subtlety might need to be explained – but generally that would mean that the image has become too complex.

To demonstrate my point, I decided to develop a small project that portrays a subject in two ways – one in context, and one isolated to the point of objectification. I wanted someone or something that was sufficiently commonplace that most people would be used to objectifying them. I soon settled on the letter box. Not the kind you have in your door, but the postal containers present in almost every community – whether cylindrical, on a pole, or a slit in the wall.

I soon realised that I had inadvertently chosen the ideal metaphor as, it seems, many people take pictures of letter boxes, but very few put them in context.

I shall be collating the images into a final set in the future, but for the time being here’s a selection of early examples.

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