The following gallery of photos represents my final project for the School of Photographic Imaging Course completed a couple of years ago. The following submission along with the photos earned a “Commended” pass mark.
Doors have a purpose. They provide a barrier or an entrance depending upon the point of view taken. By their style and context they can date a picture, building or home; by century, decade or even season; as well as providing social insight and commentary.
The choice of Oxford was inspired by a trip with the family in 2007. The variety of architecture old and modern provided a diverse first view of the city. The old college architecture contrasted with modern development, sometimes side by side with each other. In addition there was a contrast in social outlook between the rich colleges with their manicured gardens and uniformed porters and the poorer looking areas of the city centre.
Expanding the theme
The theme of Doors is a simple one, but one on which additional themes or levels can be applied. For my project I combined the simple theme of doors with the geographical theme of Oxford.
Over a number of visits I found more and more interesting areas to photograph, with many varied styles of door. It wasn’t until my project proposal was submitted and then later visits that the final theme was developed and confirmed.
I had noticed the diversity of the City during my visits and concluded that I wanted to show this diversity within the overall theme of The Doors of Oxford.
I thought the main feature of Oxford, to most people, was the various Colleges of the University. This had therefore to be one of the underlying themes for my photographs.
People also generally see Oxford as an old city due mainly to the old colleges of the University. However many modern elements exist side by side with the old.
My final photographs therefore attempt to show the diversity of doors in Oxford. This underlying themes are augmented by presenting in the photographs in pairs as follows:-
Visitors accommodation and Student dormitory
This makes a social comment on the contrast of the Hostel accommodation in the city centre with the College dorms. The former is new and the later old.
Town bar and Student bar
Again the secondary theme is the contrast between the city centre and the colleges. The former open to all and the later to only a privileged few.
New school and Old school
This takes the education theme and contrasts the modern and the new.
Museum education centre and College school
Again education is the principal focus and the underlying contrast of modern and new is portrayed.
New entrance? and Old entrance
These pictures of doors are simple interpretations of age as the principal underlying theme. The stonework is Cotswold and can therefore be identified with Oxford. The left hand picture poses a question – is the door and stonework new made to look old or old restored to look new?
Modern security and Old security
Both of these photographs suggest old doors. However I chose to take a close up shot of the door locks to question the age theme. The Cotswold stone and old wood doors again can be identified with Oxford.