Bristol photographer Doug Jewell presents 10 of his photos that offer a unique take on the city
Bristol is a fantastic place to live if photography is your thing.
It’s a diverse, feisty, creative city with a thriving photographic community.
There are loads of interesting scenes to capture with enough stunning landmarks, cultural happenings and fascinating souls to keep a photographer engaged and happily snapping for days.
So here, in no particular order, is a list of 10 cool places to visit with your camera. Happy shooting!
Okay Cabot Circus is just a big shopping centre with the usual hotchpotch of shops selling tat and a cinema with vastly overpriced hot dogs, but it’s also a giant green house. The glass roof provides almost perfect lighting for getting good shots and if the sun is out it creates a great criss-crossy pattern on the floor making it look like a giant games table.
Bristol is synonymous with street art, thanks partly to Banksy. He’s not the only artist in town though. Head to Stokes Croft and opposite the more famous Mild, Mild, West is this rather arresting image. You can imagine the conversation: “You know what this wall needs? A giant picture of a Jesus lookalike doing a handstand… it’ll attract more hipsters, and hipsters look like Jesus.”
The squirrels of Brandon Hill are more sociable than Little Miss Chatterbox after a few glasses of Pinot Grigio. Head there with some nuts or old bread and you can get close enough to count their whiskers. This chap came up and had a paw at my phone shortly after I took this. Presumably to update his Grindr profile.
Ashton Court (the majority of which is mostly in North Somerset) is just the other side of the Suspension Bridge and offers acres of gorgeous pastoral loveliness. I always feel very lucky to have such stunning landscapes to shoot on my doorstep despite living in the city. Here is a lonely tree right at the top of the estate.
Queen Square is another example of a green oasis amidst the hustle & bustle of city living. It’s played host to some great gigs over the years, including Massive Attack in 2003. Depending on what time of day you visit expect to see, office workers, jugglers, lovers, drinkers… anyone and anything basically. This is a wide angle shot taken to emphasise the symmetry of the square.
The Create Centre
The Create Centre isn’t the most obvious choice to include in a list of great photographic sites in Bristol. It’s a bit boxy, stark and frankly, looks like it would make a good prison. If you shoot it at the right time of day, and from the right angle, though, you can capture some attractively shimmering shots.
The Harbourside undergoes something of a transformation around 7pm on the weekend. Pre-7pm it’s a family-friendly, easygoing chilled out kind of a place. After 7pm it all gets a bit Magaluf, which can make for some interesting shots. Here the clean lines of the building contrast with the jagged edges of this smashed wine bottle. Saturday night, Dee Dee Na Na Na, as Whigfield once sang.
This vibrant row of houses above the Hotwell Road is especially photographic. I had tried to photograph it in a unique way on several occasions without success. I was wandering back from a trip to the SS Great Britain when this gaggle of swans swam obligingly towards me. They thankfully swam off without getting all violent when I didn’t have any bread to feed them.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Clifton Suspension Bridge has probably been photographed more often than David Beckham. There are a number of different angles to shoot it from but my favourite is from this small patch of grass by the Cumberland Basin. From there it looks stunning between the gorge, and when the tide is high and the clouds skid across the sky it’s difficult to find a more peaceful setting in Bristol.
Opposite Bristol Cathedral on College Green you’ll find a load of fountains. I’ve found that if you shoot through them, using the cathedral as a backdrop, you can capture some very interesting shapes. It’s apparently human nature to find faces in things. This one looks a bit like a thoughtful beagle wearing a hat. Or Sweep from Sooty and Sweep fame. Or maybe that’s just me.