The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Photographer’s Dorset

Clavell Tower

My interest in photography really started while I was training as a graphic designer at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art, but at that stage I didn’t pursue it. After a short period working as a graphic designer, I became a professional falconer, which led me into the bird clearance programme on US airbases in England. It was here that I met some American musicians. We formed a band, got a US recording contract and went to the United States, where I remained for 28 years, playing music professionally as a drummer.

In 2002, I got on a plane and returned home to Dorset.

They say you don’t appreciate a place until you leave it. For me, that’s true. The diversity of Dorset’s rolling hills and dramatic coastline lends itself perfectly to what has become my main style of photography. The county is steeped in history which can lead you down many paths, but whatever path you find yourself on, the outcome can be photographically rewarding.

Dorset has inspired and bred some excellent photographers, one of whom once said to me, ‘If you want the picture, you’ve got to get out in it.’ There is so much of it, where do you begin? I found that self-discipline is a good start. On a cold, wet winter morning, just before sunrise, it is not always easy to jump out of bed with a smile on your face as there are no guarantees of a picture. Go anyway. The conditions can change dramatically, if only for a brief period of time. That’s all you need for a picture. If it doesn’t happen, document the spot and return frequently throughout the year as the landscape will be there when the conditions change. With most landscapes or seascapes, early morning or late afternoon is generally the best light. On occasion, I will go to a spot both times on the same day, spending the rest of the day exploring new areas for possible images.

The picture you see opposite of Clavell Tower at Kimmeridge required patience and persistence. When I first visited, I came away with nothing. Returning a few days later, I waited for four hours and, as the sun moved round, the light and mood changed dramatically and I had the picture. Overlooking the Jurassic Coastline, the tower is a stunning landmark, unique to Dorset. It is a long, steep climb from the car park below, but the view and atmosphere from the top is the sort of thing that inspires me about photographing Dorset.

Digital photography has opened the door of possibilities for many aspiring photographers, and I look forward to seeing new and exciting images from both the professional and amateur worlds, but as mainly a landscape photographer, color transparency film suits me best. Most of my work is produced on a Mamiya medium format camera, using Fujichrome Velvia 50 and 100 film.

Until recently, my emphasis has been on colour landscape photographs, which can be seen in a number of publications, on postcards and as prints in galleries. But black and white images have always attracted and inspired me and in the coming year, I intend to devote more time to monochrome.

Dorset Directory