The Photographer’s Eye and Hogwarts

This month I explain about the ‘Photographer’s eye’ and those times when a professional industrial photographer just gets the desire to break out from convention and create some art!

When a client commissions me to produce one or a series of photographs of a particular commercial subject, I bring to bear, what I call, the Photographers Eye; meaning that when I survey the subject matter I can envisage how to bring out the best in the subject matter. This could mean using a specific lens to let the angles and dynamics of a piece of architecture thrust forth and shout about itself, or I may see that some ‘painting with light’ will bring what could conceivably be considered an uninspiring location or subject to life. It takes a trained eye to just know what will and won’t do the subject justice; there are so many variables to take into consideration – you could say it’s akin to hand-eye coordination skills, but this time it’s lens-eye coordination with some good old right lobe creativity thrown in.

This in-depth understanding comes with experience (I’m making this word bold because experience is a weighty subject), and it’s what a potential client is relying on when commissioning me to undertake their project.

Only when I’m clear in my own mind the best way to execute the photograph and whether I will choose a particular lens or unusual angle or need to employ my sophisticated post production software on the image to make a ‘whole’ out of a collection of pieces, will I begin the photographic shoot.

Examples of these skills can be seen in the two architectural images I’ve featured.


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This building is in Blackhall Road Oxford, which is a very narrow road to say the least. I calculated that I could get the entire building into one image by positioning myself at the Keble Road end.  The final picture is a good example of taking the best from what you’re presented with and using post-production to bring it to life!



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This is Stream Edge in Oxford. Another good example of the creative photographers eye in action. The choice of lens, the angle of the shot and post-production all combined to good effect.


Happy days at Hogwarts



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I’m very passionate and enthusiastic about architecture, and living and working around Oxfordshire allows me to visit and photograph some of the very best of England’s architectural heritage. The area is literally crammed with photographic opportunities, and sometimes I happen across a place that literally demands my attention.

A good example of a moment when I was gripped by the creative potential was on a visit to the Dining Hall at Christchurch College. I espied the stunning staircase and fan vaulted ceiling which I discovered featured as part of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.

Its curvaceous sweep appealed to me greatly and the structure and solidity of the hand crafted stonework is truly stunning. The more I looked at it, the more I wanted to add even more to it’s appeal by adding an artistic twist to the conventional view of the staircase.  Have a look at the result of my endeavors – I’m rather proud of it to be truthful and thoroughly enjoyed employing my post-production skills to achieve the end result. It looks like a reflection but in reality it isn’t, it’s knitted together to create that illusion. It’s a fine example of history, architecture and contemporary effects all used to good effect.   I wonder what JK Rowling would make of it?

The second image I wanted to share with you is the Divinity School (built in 1488) in the Bodleian Library.  Another impressive example of a fan vaulted ceiling, and also prominent in the Harry Potter films. Its more historic claim to fame is that the building was used to store armaments in the English Civil War (1642-1651). I’ve a keen interest in all matters military and I was a member of a Civil War re-enactmment society long ago and produced a book of “war” photographs from the Civil War.

It may be of interest to you that this image is available to buy mounted on a contemporary wooden surface with stand-off fixings. It’s 6’ x 3 and would adorn a pillar wall or an alcove with aplomb.