Oxfordshire SOUP is a fabulous event that we’ve been asked to shoot a couple of times now. We love being involved with it.
Our job as PR photographers is to capture the flavour and atmosphere of the event, a task we’re well used to doing.
So what is Oxfordshire SOUP? Well it’s a networking event crossed with Dragons Den. Four entrepreneurs pitch their business to the audience, the audience then votes on their favourite. The winner then gets all of the money taken at the door, plus additional investment from some corporate sponsors.
When we were asked to go along to the Ark T centre in Oxford to take some photographs for their website, we were excited to see the work they were doing and to meet some of the people benefiting from the activities held at the centre.
The Ark T Centre is an inspiring organisation that focuses on using art and creativity to improve the lives of individuals going through tough times. Spending time at the centre made it easy to see how their vision, “Creativity changes lives”, really rings true. The centre aims to promote tolerance and celebrate diversity within the local community. They believe that art and creativity can help people to “discover new things about themselves and unlock their potential”, and provide a safe, non-judgmental space for children and families, LGBTQ and disabled young people, and long-term unemployed adults to develop their skills and confidence.
The place itself has a relaxed vibe and we enjoyed a delicious coffee in the Camerados Living Room Cafe. The cafe is open to the public, and the warm and welcoming atmosphere made it a real hub of activity for the centre – a creative space to grab a coffee and meet a friend, with artwork lining the walls and one of the centre’s regulars playing the piano.
Exploring the centre was a heart warming experience. There was a real buzz about the place. We got some great shots of the ‘Our voice is our power’ workshop – a group of long-term unemployed adults working together to produce a community newspaper – and this kind of reportage photography, where you get to take candid, unobtrusive shots of people in real life situations is great fun.
We took a variety of photos of the space and facilities for the centre’s own commercial use, then visited the art rooms – a hive of activity, where we photographed children taking part in ‘Creativity camps’, creating stop-motion animations, making photo frames and completing other craft projects. These camps are aimed at children with educational, emotional or behavioural needs, and it was clear that the Ark T centre is a lifeline for them, with big smiles lighting up their faces as they got stuck in to the art activities.
Just spending a day at the centre was inspirational – having the opportunity to witness and photograph first-hand the strength of the individuals facing such diverse challenges and the projects run by Ark T, which really are life-changing, was an incredible experience.
One of the reasons that we love event photography is because we get to go to some really cool, interesting and unusual events. We were thrilled to be invited to photograph the first ever Great British Bike Off, an alternative, customised bike festival held in Oxford City Centre. The Bike Off promised to be a celebration of creativity, culture and of course cycling… when we arrived the collection of weird, wonderful and wacky bikes that had been entered just blew our minds.
The array of colourful and creative customised bikes was extraordinary… we particularly liked the Pink Angel bike entered by The Cowley Road Condors and the customised rickshaw!
Not only was there an amazing atmosphere at this community event but with an impressive parade around Oxford City Centre and sponsorship from many key Oxfordshire based businesses, it was a really fun day to photograph!
The event raised valuable funds for Cowley based charity The Ark-T Centre. The Ark T Centre uses creativity as a tool for self-empowerment and their projects aim to increase wellbeing and personal resilience for people facing multiple disadvantages.
We were asked to photograph the end of the Palace 2 Palace bike ride for the Prince’s Trust which we were more than happy to do. We done event photography for some of the organisers in the past so they new us and our work.
The finish was at Windsor Racecourse and the organisers had lots of activities and things going on. They want pictures of the atmosphere, the participants, the families and so on.
We loved it, we even got to meet and photograph Chris Froome and Mel Giedroyc amongst others.