This month I’m doing a photo challenge, taking one photo every day. After the first couple of weeks, I realised that I don’t like taking photos when there are lots of people around! It was pointed out to me that it was a bit silly, so I decided to try taking photos in a busy place and see whether I could get used to it. I picked Maidenhead town centre to photograph – an ordinary town centre on an overcast day. Maidenhead has some lovely views by the River Thames, as well as some very pleasant countryside, but that wasn’t my focus for this photographic wander.
I was pleasantly surprised by my walk. Firstly that it wasn’t actually too bad taking photos with people around. People walked round me, or glanced in the direction of the thing I was photographing. But nobody stood and stared at me or laughed! Secondly, the things I discovered. I have been familiar with Maidenhead town centre since my late teens, so thought I had seen most of what there is to see. But I found a few new things and some unexpected details I’d never noticed before.
What did I learn on my walk round Maidenhead?
Maidenhead has history! This wasn’t surprising – but not something I think about when I wander down the High Street to buy a newspaper or a sandwich. I visited the Heritage Centre for the first time and found out that the remains of a Roman Villa were unearthed in Cox Green when building work started on some new flats in the 1950s. I also spotted a few plaques around the town centre detailing objects of historic significance.
Maidenhead has lots of greenery. My current photo challenge is about photographing things that are green. Appropriately I found a few green spaces to admire; there are three parks within easy walking distance of the town centre: Grenfell Park, Kidwells Park and Town Moor. Each one is a different size and has different facilities, but all are green and spacious.
Maidenhead can also be arty and modern. Funky bollards outside the new Sainsbury’s Local store, a very cool mural which was created during the wonderful Art on the Street event a couple of weeks ago, and even a gold post box for one of resident Sophie Christiansen’s gold medals in the Paralympic Games in 2012.
There are lots of details all around us. If you’re not looking out for things, you won’t spot them. Details like the word ‘Maidenhead’ on the base of the town maps display. Like the underpass that goes under Bad Godesberg Way, complete with mosaic of the town symbol for one of Maidenhead’s twin towns. (The other two towns are Saint Cloud and Frascati – which also have roads named after them…) And some colourful and ornate pub signs hanging on the walls above our heads.
Do you take much notice of the town where you go to work or shop?
If you walked around with a camera for an hour would you spot things you hadn’t realised were there?
For more information on some of the Maidenhead things I mention, visit:
http://www.rbwm.gov.uk/web/parks_maidenhead_area.htm (parks and their facilities)
http://www.maidenheadheritage.org.uk/ (Maidenhead Heritage Centre)
http://www.maidenheadartmarket.org/ (Art on the Street event)
http://www.rbwm.gov.uk/web/twinning_twintowns.htm (Maidenhead’s twin towns)