Part 4

Exercise 4.5

Oxford as it really is!

If you ever Google “Oxford” you will be presented with a beautiful picture postcard set of images.  From these images, you would get the impression that this is the real Oxford.  A beautiful University city, with wonderful old buildings and a culture to match.  But in reality it is only half the story.  I was inspired by two photographers: John Davies and Chris Steele-Perkins, both of whom photographed Mount Fuji from various different viewpoints, showing the juxtaposition of the beautiful mountain, and the factories and suburban life going on around it.  I have included examples of their work, and a photograph taken from Google showing the usual image with blossom and petals around it.

Chris Steele-Perkins
© Chris Steele-Perkins 2001
John Davies
Fuji City – 106, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, March 2008 © John Davies
Google Image
An image taken from Google showing the usual viewpoint of Mount Fuji and the beautiful blossom


I went into Oxford City Centre to take some photographs showing that Oxford does not consist only of those majestic old buildings seen on Google.  These well known buildings cover less than a square mile in the centre, and just around any corner are many more traditional buildings interspersed with modern 60s buildings.

First I Googled “Oxford”.  Below is a screen shot of the resulting search.   Anyone who hasn’t visited Oxford would see these  images and assume that’s all there is.

Oxfords Dreaming Spires
The Dreaming Spires of Oxford


And here are my photographs showing the other views of Oxford.

Of course I realise progress is essential and there are some beautiful new buildings tucked carefully in between the old and traditional buildings, such as the new Maths building and the new Physics building, both shown below.   But like John Davies’ and Chris Steele-Perkins’ images of Mount Fuji, images can be created to give one impression, when the reality is different.

Department of Physics, University of Oxford
IMG_2064 (2)
Institute of Mathematics, University of Oxford

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