The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Scene in another way

Rosie Mathisen’s images of Dorset are of familiar places but rendered in a different way, as she explains

This was before Antony Gormley's LAND  installation statue  at Kimmeridge succumbed to the heavy winter seas. Rosie remembers clambering very gingerly over the rocks in order to take the tripod that she needed to use such a long shutter speed.

This was before Antony Gormley’s LAND installation statue at Kimmeridge succumbed to the heavy winter seas. Rosie remembers clambering very gingerly over the rocks in order to take the tripod that she needed to use such a long shutter speed.

In her previous (working) lives, Rosie Mathisen has been a schoolteacher, nuclear industry connection and head of a body trying to bring high tech jobs to Cumbria, before she and her husband moved to Dorset.

One of the 'honey trap' locations along the Jurassic coast is Golden Cap, but again Rosie avoids the clichéd approach

One of the ‘honey trap’ locations along the Jurassic coast is Golden Cap, but again Rosie avoids the clichéd approach

Another 'honey trap' location, this time of Man o'War beach and St Oswald's Bay. By waiting until the waves receded to their maximum, Rosie was able to capture the starfish-fingers-like moisture marks on the beach to add just that bit extra to the shot.

Another ‘honey trap’ location, this time of Man o’War beach and St Oswald’s Bay. By waiting until the waves receded to their maximum, Rosie was able to capture the starfish-fingers-like moisture marks on the beach to add just that bit extra to the shot.

Perhaps it is because of this variety of previous viewpoints to her life that she herself is quite keen to avoid what she calls the ‘honeypots’ of Dorset when taking images of the county. As well as having an original eye, she has also spent the last few years absorbing the lessons of other landscape photographers as her main hobby. The results show a Dorset that we can all recognise, but rarely from a photograph we may have seen before. Rather she has the ability to compare and contrast the landscapes of London, the Isles of north-west Scotland and the postage stamp fields of Dorset.

These straw stooks are from a field used by Bridport thatcher Dave Symonds for his thatching work

These straw stooks are from a field used by Bridport thatcher Dave Symonds for his thatching work

Wine expert Steven Spurrier (of 'Judgement of Paris' fame) has planted his Bride Valley Vineyard vines in the chalky flinty soil of West Dorset . The terroir is reminiscent of that of the Champagne region and his planting of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay vines is too.

Wine expert Steven Spurrier (of ‘Judgement of Paris’ fame) has planted his Bride Valley Vineyard vines in the chalky flinty soil of West Dorset . The terroir is reminiscent of that of the Champagne region and his planting of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay vines is too.

‘In complete contrast to the magnificent scale of the Lake District, I love the way the hills here fold in on themselves in a tumbled, jumbled line up of bumps and hollows’, she says. ‘It is also an ancient landscape obviously geologically, but it bears the marks of a being a “hand made” landscape going back thousands of years. The fieldscape appears “hand-stitched” and bears the stories of people working here over centuries.

Rosie did not organise that the tractor should have been working, nor the raking light, but she did take advantage of the fact that her husband is a member of Bridport Golf Club and she was able to take this from the footpath not far from the 16th tee!

Rosie did not organise that the tractor should have been working, nor the raking light, but she did take advantage of the fact that her husband is a member of Bridport Golf Club and she was able to take this from the footpath not far from the 16th tee!

‘I’m also interested in how new challenges will affect this very ancient pastoral land. Maize-growing, vineyards, solar farms, 400 Kv pylons all affect a precious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) but paradoxically add to photographic interest and challenge. It is not enough to photograph a land caught in aspic, but one which is primarily subject to flux and change.

Part of Rosie's project on the use of land, here she contrasts the monoculture maize with the variety of the fields beyond

Part of Rosie’s project on the use of land, here she contrasts the monoculture maize with the variety of the fields beyond

‘I love reading about the West Dorset landscape – whether poetry or narrative….. from Kenneth Allsop’s writing about the “tumbled anarchy” of locals hills and Anna Pavord’s Landskipping and am always inspired and intrigued by local artists’ interpretations of this gorgeous, accessible and humane landscape.

Rather than focusing on the Fleet, as is often the case from the heights of Portland, Rosie chose instead to follow the light trails of the vehicles as the snake their way up and down the hill

Rather than focusing on the Fleet, as is often the case from the heights of Portland, Rosie chose instead to follow the light trails of the vehicles as the snake their way up and down the hill

 

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