Pierdom on the Pier
In the spirit of the event sponsors Borough Wines, Beers and Books provided special edition wine bottles complete with the signature image of the old pier for the private view of Pierdom on Hastings pier. Organised by Andrew Moran and the Hastings Pier Charity as part of the photography festival Pierdom is a body of work by photographer Simon Roberts which started as an editorial commission for a magazine and grew into a visual record of British Victorian piers. In order to replicate the experience of a Victorian photographer Roberts used an authentic 4×5 inch field camera in order to capture the fragile splendour of these decaying structures.
I spoke to Simon about the work who said that despite the fact that Pierdom had been widely exhibited this was the first time it had been shown on a pier and he was pleased that the work would be reaching a new and more diverse audience. It seems fitting that the photographs should be on display on the reconstructed Hastings pier not only because the ruins of the previous pier form part of the body of work but as a blending of old and new the new pier signifying that there is still a demand for these eccentric structures.
The work has a serene and timeless quality with typically British grey blue skies, mirrored obligingly at the opening by the Hastings sunset. The simplicity of the utilitarian structures built to house the work having a similarity to the basic design giving it relevance both to the site and the past.
The work is available to view until 30th November. Further details are on the Photohastings website.
Words and images Teresa Neal 2016
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