Transitions (First Version)

At the beginning of this course I looked at several locations for this assignment.
Out of these I chose to photograph a location viewed from a bridge over the Thames in Oxford. In part I chose this because it is an easy location for ne to visit regularly, but also because it seemed to offer possibilities in terms of being able to see changes over time.

Initially I did not photograph this site on a regular basis; although I did take several photographs as suggestions for this assignment I did not revisit this site until several months after the first visit. Since then I have been back several times, at successively shorter intervals. Looking at the results for my second visit I realised that perhaps I had anticipated too much in the way of change; in fact very little of the landscape itself had changed significantly. Large cranes in the distance were present in the early images but had gone by this summer.

The location shows a slipway and club house used both by a local rowing club and River Scouts. What does show up from these is not so much what has changed but what is always there. The site is a favourite location for geese and ducks, and river fowl are almost always present, either on land, in the water, or both. People are sometimes present but birds are permanent.

There is a more noticeable change in the colour and mood of the images; this is obviously affected by the weather, if cloudy or sunny, but also by the time of day I took the photographs at. In the morning the sun is mostly to the left of the camera, whereas in the afternoon it is mostly behind. Even taking the conditions into account, photographs taken in the morning give the river much less translucent appearance. The water seems quite forbidding and dangerous, but by contrast the water is brighter and more inviting in the afternoon. This difference, although not totally significant in these images, does show that the river can assume both picturesque and sublime qualities in different circumstances. Wind conditions also affect the perception of the water; ripples disrupt the reflections and give more of a suggestion of life to the image. Still water showing strong reflections have more of a sombre, introspective feel. In addition variations in colour of the trees and grass alter the mood, with the more vivid green of spring and early summer adding further life to the scene.

In retrospect I realise I could have taken more care to use exactly the same location and zoom here. I could perhaps also have been more rigid in fixing the time gaps between each photograph. Having said that there is still enough ‘randomness’ in variations to show that fixing these variables would not necessarily alter the small changes that are shown here.


Early October 2018, early afternoon


Mid May 2019, early afternoon


Mid July 2019, mid afternoon


Mid August 2019, mid morning


A week later than above, early afternoon


Mid October 2019, early morning


Mid November 2019, midday


Late November 2019, late afternoon

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