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Ghosts of the Pier

Ghosts of the Pier

Ghosts of the pier is a photograph that combines a picture of Hastings Pier in it’s heyday with one of how it is now. When looking at old structures or places I always try and imagine what they were like in the past. I found a website (via a WordPress Blog whose name escapes me) that combines photos of World War 2 and splices them into photos taken today. The website is by Sergey Larenkov and I strongly recommend that you take a look at these moving and evocative pictures.

His work has inspired this post. It seemed a relatively simple task at first, all I needed was a decent quality picture of the pier in it’s prime, then take a photo of the pier from the same view. It wasn’t as simple as that!

Finding old pictures of the pier is easy enough, but finding one that shows the pier in the context of it’s setting and also with a decent crowd is harder. The next problem is to find a jpeg of sufficient quality to enable a reasonable sized image. I eventually found two likely candidates.

The next problem was to work out where the old picture was taken from, which is easy to estimate. The first shortlisted photo I couldn’t recreate as a large block of flats has been built that partially blocks the view. So I’m down to this photo, which was taken from the steps leading up to White Rock Gardens. The final part of the process is to take a photo that captures the same scene, but is also taken at the same height and angle of the original. The photo I finally used was one of several I took from varying positions. In the end the main guide was the curve of the roof and the alignment of the turrets on the right hand building.

The original picture I found on the Hastings Chronicle history of the pier, which contains the full story of the pier from concept to present day. The scene shows a concert being held in the early 1960’s.

And here is my duplicate shot of the pier today. I added a couple of modern day cars from the unused photos to add some contrast to the old ones.

Ghosts of the Pier

3 responses to “Ghosts of the Pier”

  1. davidoakesimages avatar

    I was once involved in sorting the archive for the then oldest and largest Post Card Company in the U.K. I remembwr very clearly images taken just before Blackpool Tower was opened. It was taken from the roof of Blackpool North Pier, showed the length of the pier back to the promenade and honestly all you could see was people. Ladies in big dark dresses and men with bowler hats. You couldn’t drop a seagull in amongst them they were all so tightly packed.

  2. Ro avatar

    I had to really study this before I got it into proportion – it’s because of course, there is only half of the pier built on, which makes it look a bit wrongly proportioned on the burnt side – but soon as I got that mentally sorted I saw what you were trying to do, I think it works, but having looked at the photos that inspired you, I thik you need to be finding old pictures that show more detail – ie, like the people in Sergey’s photos, being able to see their faces makes it so haunting.

    BTW I may well have been amongst those folk on the pier if it was in the 60s!

  3. […] above is a merge of a photo taken in 1900 with one taken recently. I used the same technique as the ‘Ghosts of the Pier’ image. If you want to see more of this type of work I recommend Sergey Larenkov’s blog. His […]

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