This famous building in the City of Oxford is called the Radcliffe Camera, designed by James Gibbs in the English Palladian style and built in 1737–1749 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.
Of course, in the days when this was built, the word "camera" had the same meaning as that same word in Latin, namely, a vaulted chamber or room. In fact, the English word "chamber" derives from the French word "chambre" which derives from the Latin "camera". The word "camera" still exists in legal parlance in as much as a judge might decide to hold a hearing "in camera", meaning that the hearing is to be held in a private chamber rather than in a public courtroom.
Only later did the term "camera obscura" (darkened room) appear when light admitted through a small opening in a darkened room was focused (with the aid of lenses and mirrors or a simple pinhole) on a flat surface so that images of objects outside the room could be viewed. And later still, when the science of photography developed, the lightproof box used for taking photographs became known simply as a "camera".
Having said all that, is is widely believed that some of the Dutch masters from the 17th Century might have used some form of camera obscura to assist the composition of their more detailed works; a similar apparatus was described by Leonardo da Vinci; and even Aristotle in the 4th Century B.C. understood the principles of the pinhole camera.
The Radcliffe Camera, however, is a magnificent piece of architecture and a library but not a camera as we know it! It is seen here viewed from the southwest with the west gate of All Souls College at far right.
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holmertz (26876) 2013-03-07 12:40
You have a good title and an interesting note to accompany this very well taken picture. You used your camera perfectly. I wouldn't know how much post-processing you added to get this result, but the colours and contrasts are truly impressive anyway.
I spent an hour or two in Oxford in the summer of 1964 and actually remember this building. Funny how it must somehow have made an impression on a 17 year old kid, who only had in his mind to reach London so he could experience Soho and taste indian food.
jadesgran (3267) 2013-03-07 13:36
This is a very impressive building, and a marvelously detailed note.
I did Latin at school many,many years ago but I`m afraid your description is way above my head!
Anyway, I like the inclusion of the people on the right ,as this adds scale to an impressive building.
carlo62 (12492) 2013-03-07 15:05
bella architettura, belli i colori ed ottima qualità fotografica.
Interessante la nota di accompagnamento.
macjake (39207) 2013-03-07 23:01
now what took you so long to post this one?
what an incredible piece of architecture!
I really really like this subject and the photo.
so full of color from top the bottom, and the POV is great, showing of the building in a power position for the viewer...i feel as if its right in my face.
I'd love to get some abstract photo's of it somehow.
you lost me with the note though lol...all that Latin talk and different meanings of Camera...lol..
take it easy! see you around
jjcordier (62280) 2013-03-07 23:40
Excellente et très intéressante note accompagnant cette superbe photo de ce très beau bâtiment aux formes originales. Très belle lumière.
emka (58024) 2013-03-08 0:16
marvelous note about different meanings of the word camera. In Polish, kamera means rather video or movie camera, we make shots by "aparat". This camera is indeed rather big and very beautiful. What a fine piece of architecture and you show it in splendid light. Fantastic shot and of course nice memories for me. There were the days...
By the way, do you now from what the name Canon is taken? hahaha
The Buddhist Goddess Guanyin in Japanese is pronounced Kannon. This rendition was used for an earlier spelling of the well-known camera manufacturer Canon, which was named for Guanyin.
timecapturer (30226) 2013-03-08 4:04
have seen this wonderful building on TE a few times and I think this is one of the best shots of it. Superbly composed and executed with light that flatters and brings out all the detailing so perfectly. A fascinating building and one of a few such camera obscura around. There is one on the end of Eastbourne's Victorian Pier. Super shot and elegant presentation.
Have a great weekend - Regards Brian.
Noel_Byrne (7259) 2013-03-08 5:07
This is a hugely impressive structure, and you have done it wodnerful justice with your capture. The light is perfect, to highlight the details of the building, and the range of colours from green through orange to the vivid blue sky is superb. I love the depth of field you created her by including the pinnacles of the building on the right.
Royaldevon (17741) 2013-03-08 8:20
I have enjoyed the preamble through history and Latin, in your accompanying notes. Both are extremely interesting. Have you ever been to the photographic museum in Bradford?
The building is well positioned, with sharp textural details, fine guide lines, and associated building to provide that sense of depth.
Ah, I see you have achieved your dream of a beautiful, blue sky!
Have a great w/e,
saxo042 (31792) 2013-03-08 8:49
This is a beautiful building. I wish that modern architect could think more along these lines, rather than concrete elements... Your note makes me remember my first visit to Italy, with student friends; we learned how to order a room at an hotel: "A camera with banjo on the prima piano"
npecanhuk (53861) 2013-03-08 18:22
Very beautiful architectural details!
Very attractive picture!
Sharpness, exposure, colors, vertical format, chosen pov and composition truly pleased me!
TFS - congrats,
Enjoy your week-end,
annjackman (13177) 2013-03-09 7:09
Your interesting note perfectly explains the Radcliffe Camera. Love the detail of the honey-coloured stonework and the patches of saturated blue sky. The fluffy clouds frame the building beautifully.
A top quality image.
Happy memories of a sunny day.
Best wishes, Ann
EstelleJ (921) 2013-04-09 10:15
Such an outstanding building of unique circular shape! I like that you positioned it off-center, a little bit to the left of the image, this way letting in a glimpse of another beautiful building in a distance to the right of the photo. The colors are superb - a pleasant golden tone of the building against the very piercing-blue sky and amazingly green grass on the bottom - all makes for a striking visual!
And again, I really love the architectural details of the Radcliffe Camera.
All the best!
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (13021)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-08-26
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/9.0, 1/640 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2013-03-07 12:24