In the last few months I’ve been really trying to improve upon my photojournalism and street photography skills. Having ventured into the streets of Oxford a few times on a Friday or Saturday night to capture some images, I’ve always had two problems. The first is that I’ve not been out late enough for the interesting stuff to happen, typically going out about 8pm or so. The second is that I tend to skirt around the town centre, shooting at buildings or the many landmarks the city has. I’ve always wanted to show the real Oxford and not the Inspector Morse/University town/heavily romanticised version.
The real reason why I’ve not gone into the town centre is because, ultimately, I’m scared. Apart from over-coming the usual fear of people that a street photographer normally has to deal with (which is massive), it’s about a million times worse when you’re out with hundreds of pissed-up angry types, sticking your nose into their business. No matter how interesting it would be to document, I don’t really fancy having my camera smashed up. Or my face for that matter.
With this in mind, I set out into Oxford’s busiest area for clubs. At 1am.
Admittedly, I didn’t last long – only about an hour because it was freezing cold. And I got scared because I got noticed too often.
But I did sit and speak to a homeless man which really made my evening as it’s always something I’ve wanted to do. I asked him all of the questions that I’ve always wanted to ask – how did he get there, where does he live, where did he live. He was happy to tell me. His dog is called Jake and they live in a tent in a field, next to other homeless people. It’s not so much of a community, more of a co-existence but I got the sense that they looked out for each other. “Most people have front doors, but I’ve got a tent.”