I DON’T know who Bearded Git is, but he’s got a website where he calls himself that, and he spends his holidays in Dorset, takes photos, then posts them online. This picture of Colmers Hill, just outside Bridport, is from his website.
I think it’s one of the best pictures of Colmers Hill – if not the best – that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen plenty. Dozens of artists and photographers have had a crack at capturing the essence of Colmers Hill, but, in my not so humble opinion, they’ve nearly all failed, perhaps because they’ve concentrated too much on matters of technique. Gone too much for some kind of fancy individualised vision, without enough sense of how people generally experience Colmers Hill, from the middle of Bridport (say), as a presence looming up at the end of street, unusual but reassuring.
Bearded Git has got the shape of Colmers Hill, or Pudding Basin Hill as it’s also known: I’m thinking of the poem about climbing up Pudding Basin Hill by the former millionaire car-park attendant Maurice Barnes, in his book A Poet Walks…
Bearded Git has also got the atmosphere of it, the way it sometimes stands out with its bristly ridge and tufty tree-topped crown, but also the way it sometimes just seems to lurk slightly beyond ordinary life. It’s almost in Bearded Git’s picture as if it’s veiled.
I’m conscious of the fact that I haven’t expressed myself very well, but that’s further confirmation of what I’ve been saying: Colmers Hill is tremendously hard to portray. That’s one of the reasons why so many people are so fascinated by it.
One final thing: Bearded Git says he took his picture from East Cliff above West Bay. “It’s a crop from a frame that I took with the D50 + 70-300mm zoom, then mangled with Photoshop.”