Coalville Photographed, By Graham Ellis
A Series of Short Films By Christopher Mear
Unfortunately Chris' video series has come to an end. We've really enjoyed sharing the new episode every fortnight and we're now really excited to get to work creating a Spotlight to showcase his accompanying zine. In case you've missed the series or would like to catch up, you can find all the videos here. A massive thank you to Chris for sticking with us and allowing us to share his journey through the creation of this body of work. You can also find out more about Chris in our interview with him here.
The Charnwood Hills are too striking a feature to be passed over without especial notice. When seen obscurely they appear like an extensive range of mountains, much larger than they really are. When approached, the mountain style is still preserved, the prominences are sharp, distinct, and most of them pointed with rugged rocks. One of these prominences, Bardon Hill, rises above the rest: and though far from an elevated situation, it probably commands a greater extent of surface than any other point of view on the island. It is entirely insulated, standing, in every way, at a considerable distance from lands equally high. The horizon appears to rise almost equally on every side: it is quite an ocean view, from a ship out of sight of land. The midland district, almost every acre of it, is seen lying at its feet. The Sugar Loaf, in South Wales—the mountains of Shropshire and North Wales are distinctly in view—and the Derbyshire hills, to the highest peak, appear at hand. An outline, described from the extremity of this view, would include nearly one-fourth of England and Wales. It may be deemed one of the most extraordinary points of view in nature.
- T.R. Potter, The History and Antiquities of Charnwood Forest: With an Appendix On the Geology, Botany and Ornithology of the District, 1842
In the days before this shoot Graham and Liz had a series of disagreements, leading to some tension at home. Come Thursday morning Graham was told he can’t use the ‘chariot’ to go and take photographs. This left Graham with the choice of either abandoning the shoot and staying at home, or shooting somewhere within an hours walking distance.
Bardon Hill is the highest point in Leicestershire, standing at 912 feet (278 m) above sea level, but in comparison to the nearby Beacon Hill it seems to gain little attention or interest.
The presence of Bardon Hill was consistent during our journeys around North West Leicestershire. No matter where we ventured the radio mast at its summit always found a way to reveal itself and the hills heavily scarred (by a “Super-Quarry”) west face. Graham has wanted to walk to the summit ever since he arrived in Coalville in 1988. He’s lived, for most of the last twenty-seven years, at the foot of it, but due to the inevitable distraction of daily life, he never quite found the time to make the climb. He currently lives just around the corner from one of several public footpaths leading to the summit, it was really the only viable option for a shoot of any interest this week. So Graham would therefore finally realise one of his ultimate long-standing ambitions.
This would be the last Coalville Photographed shoot I would film. Although I continued to join Graham for several more shoots, though it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to negotiate the time away, I only made photographs. But eventually, due to the increasing strain of caring for Liz, and finally, the loss of his temporary respite each Thursday morning, Graham was forced into publishing the last Coalville Photographed post, in June 2016. He has however vowed to maintain the page with occasional photographs taken as he goes about his daily chores.