John Bull’s favourite 100

Last week’s meeting – John Bull’s favourite 100 

Back in 2014 John was given a blank photo album which he duly filled with his favourite photos, which were mainly of family and friends. He came across it recently and thought he ‘could do better than that’ and instead of re-filling it he decided to do a ‘Blurb’ book of his 100 favourite photos, the ones that weren’t of family and friends.

Due to time constraints John could only show us 85 of them. He organised his book in sections and started his talk with Internal Architecture. John had excellent black and white images of curved stairwells from the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford (go there during Open Doors 2022 also stairwells in the Louve in Paris, the Blavatnik Building at Tate Modern in London and many others buildings. John also had shots of cloisters and arches all very well composed.

John then moved on to Exernal Architecture which had great shots, mainly colour, of buildings that we would usually pass by with noticing. A very impressive panel of fragments of the Kassam Stadium in Oxford playing with the colour, texture and shape of the building. Blue was one of the colours he captured, whether drainpipes or a blue door with a complimentary red lock. Witney town centre was transformed into an incredible 360 degree fish eye view which was done with a great deal of expert stitching together of numerous images. John also showed black and white examples of buildings or aspects of building which worked well with the shapes and the graphical elements.

We were then shown Landscapes starting with a Knot murmuration in Norfolk. These are small wading birds which can in seen at the sea’s edge near the Snettisham RSPB nature reserve. There were shots of misty boathouses in Ullswater and in Canada, Cromer pier, wet after thunderstorm, a very clever and effective shot of Cleveland Pier through a port hole in the gents, Iffley lock, Swinford toll bridge outside Eynsham bathed in low angled sun light.

Vehicles were next which included a fantastic shot of a couple ‘of a certain age’ on the dodgems at St Giles Fair. Their expressions were to die for and were expertly captured. John would have called the next section Street but he said because he ‘meddled’ with some of the images he called it Urban and People. He had elevated view-points of: a ‘spot-coloured’ waitress with empty monochrome chairs and table ready for new customers, a timeless shot of an old lady climbing up a steep street in Montmatre neighbourhood of Paris, people with umbrella in the rain in Bilboa and shadows of people in Prague.

John’s final section was Abstract and Detail with shots of the orange and blue of a Superdry shop, the blue and red of a Caterpillar truck’s drive tracks, reflections of Birmingham New Street stations and an intriguing shot of a hand rail and steps caught in bright sunlight, the shadow of the handrail making strange graphical marks and patterns on the steps.

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Oxford Photographic Society