The sight yesterday of the pier at Weston-super-Mare blazing into nothingness is really rather depressing. So many of them seem to have suffered rather violent ends, either from fire, the weather or even the occasional ship ploughing into them. Perhaps it’s Man being told that the land is his province, and the sea is a step too far. Who knows?
As structures, they are very photogenic, partly because they are such simple, repetitive shapes and partly because they stand visually very strongly against a clean, uncluttered background. I've dug out a couple of pictures I've taken of them in the past.
Firstly Cromer in Norfolk. The pier here is nearly 500 feet long, and forms a beautiful backdrop to our walks on Runton Beach with the dogs in that part of the world. The first picture shows the theatre on the end of the pier, taken as the sun went down.
The last picture, below, was taken at Morecambe in Lancashire about 15 years ago. I think the pier had been destroyed (here we go again) by fire, and the structure stood bent, twisted and destroyed against the horizon. As a metaphor for the town, which in the early Nineties definitely seemed to be on its way out as a seaside resort, it takes some beating. The town faces west, so the sun sets very invitingly against the stark structure of the pier’s remains. All you need is a gentle, misty sunset with the brightness of the sun dampened down into a lovely redness against the grey sea and sky, and the contrast of a black metal silhouette, and the result is a picture I’m quite pleased with.
Simplicity is all.