The Jurassic Coast: A Photographic Journal by Jack Anstey
"For as long as I can remember I’ve loved the outdoors. My earliest memories are of exploring the fields behind my house, climbing trees, and building ramps for my bike. I got my first camera aged 14 to photograph me and my friends skating, and since then I’ve been loved capturing moments and sharing them with others. As I got older I began taking more trips and spending more of my time outdoors; I discovered mountains, wild camping and starry night skies – my eyes were opened to the incredible beauty of the world, and of course I had my camera by my side to capture it all. I’ve lived in the city and spent time in the hustle-and-bustle of modern life, but I’m finding more and more that it’s the simple things that keep me grounded and at peace. Fresh air, sleeping outdoors, and incredible views are all things that help keep me humble and grateful. It’s in nature that I feel most comfortable and refreshed, and I take every opportunity I can to get away and spend some time in the wild."
I’ve fallen into the habit of living my life longing for the North, safe within the thought that it held everything I want from a landscape: wild mountains, isolated lakes, barren valleys, hidden waterfalls. So much so have I been cemented with this though that even though I was aware of what the South Coast of England looked like I kept delaying the visit and heading back to the Lake District or Scottish Highlands. It was at the last week of summer 2017 when I made my first trip down to Dorset. With a mini-heat wave forecast it looked like a great time to take a trip and I was feeling especially stoked as I began the evening drive from Leicester.
Sunrise is my favourite time to be out in nature, but in summer this can often mean a very early start; and so it was a little before 5am that I found myself walking sleepy eyed down the steep hill towards the beach at Durdle Door. For somewhere that I’d seen so many times in photographs I was amazed at how I was taken back by the beauty of Durdle Door. I always think a good sign of a stunning landscape is its ability to stop you in your tracks no matter how many times you visit. The sun rose into a clear sky directly over the door covering the entire landscape in a strong golden glow, warming me up from the morning chill and evaporating the layer of dew that had settled overnight. If you’re looking for reasons into why I love traveling and photography that morning is one to showcase: the perfect sunrise conditions, a jaw-dropping coastline and some great company to pass the morning with.
As if Durdle Door wasn’t enough, Dorset’s lucky enough to hold another of the most dramatic British landscapes I’ve seen: just a half hours drive down the coast on the tip of the Isle of Purbeck you’ll find Old Harry Rocks. Despite being so close to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, the tall white chalk cliffs at Old Harry Rocks are a completely different experience. Standing on the edge you can glance down the vertical cliffs to small romantic beaches, or look out to sea over the sea stacks and natural arches towards the Isle of White. Walking along the clifftops you’re reminded of just how small you are against the ever changing world – it’s quite common for large chunks of the chalk headland to break off into the sea, leaving marble-like white streaks running through the water.
Since that first trip down to Dorset I’ve changed my rationale, and no longer lust solely for the North, and I’ve just returned from my fourth trip to Dorset in 6 months. Each visit I’ve experienced the landscape in a completely different way: from clear and warm sunrises, to thick mood and fog, and even the rare winter occurrence when the sun rises directly through the hole at Durdle Door. One thing’s for sure, Dorset definitely has a lot more in store and is somewhere I know I’ll return to time and time again.