Bishop puts us in the picture about his passion for cameras

Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard with his collection of classic cameras

Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard with his collection of classic cameras Buy this photo

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

OXFORD’s Anglican leader has spent most of his life devoted to the Church of England.

But now he has revealed some of the bigger picture, when he told of his passion for photography.

Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, 66, has a collection of more than 50 cameras, many of them vintage, and still owns his first Brownie camera. Brownies were a series of inexpensive and box-shaped cameras made by Kodak, with the first appearing as early as 1900.

Bishop John is planning to attend Oxford’s first international festival of photography – Photography Oxford – next month. He also plans to enter a competition being run by the Oxford Mail and Oxford Brookes University, inviting readers to submit their pictures of what they see as “home”.

Bishop John, a grandfather-of-four, said: “It goes all the way back to when I was nine years old and was given my first box Brownie. I can look back through the years and see this extraordinary change from box cameras to digital SLRs.

“It is quite strange to think that has all happened in my lifetime.”

His first interest in the subject focused on capturing pictures of people and objects, he said.

“But as I got more of the kit, and experience, I found I was really enjoying the creative side of photography,” he said. “I have always loved landscapes and themes as well.

“I have taken lots of pictures before around themes such as bridges, and place names, as well as members of my family.

“What really interests me about photography is that it is both a precise art and also very creative.”

However, when it came to the transition from film to digital pictures, he said he was slow to take up the new technology at first.

“To begin with I was a bit snobbish about it. I used to think it was not proper photography, but I have since grown out of that because all the things you can do digit-ally are really quite exciting. It is also, of course, a lot cheaper.”

When he retires at the end of October, he plans to move to North Yorkshire and spend time photographing the iconic Yorkshire Dales.

He added: “I am looking forward to when Photography Oxford is here in September, when I hope to visit some of the exhibitions.

“I am not doing much actual photography at the moment, but when I retire I certainly hope to pick it back up again.”

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  • READERS have been invited to join a photography project that could see the best work exhibited alongside internationally-renowned artists. The Oxford Mail launched the competition in partnership with Oxford Brookes University to mark the run-up to Photography Oxford. The Mail’s sister paper, The Oxford Times, is the official media partner of the event. Submissions to the competition must be based around the theme “home” and will be part of the university’s People’s Project”.
  •  The winner, chosen by a panel of judges including our Picture Editor Leah McLaren, will win a trophy and be taken out by one of our professional team for a day of news shooting. Every week the Mail will publish a selection of the best entries. Entries should be sent to homeproject14@yahoo.co.uk

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