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.
Venturing further under Hastings Pier, the noise of the sea and my feet crunching on the pebbles increased as it was reflected back off of the metal work, decking and concrete. The sound of the traffic above was drowned out, and although busy with people on the promenade I felt as if I was in a completely different place. Perhaps that’s one of the best things about taking photographs, is that in the quest to find a different angle or shot you end up in the places few other people go.
Of the photos I took that day I prefer this one the most. What do you think?
In it’s 1970’s heyday Hastings Pier had a steam boat still gave tourists trips from the end of the Pier, a theatre, concert hall, amusements and a zoo. According to the Hastings Chronicle, when the zoo was closed a charity brought some of the animals including 10 hens and 20 rats. You can tell it was a good zoo. Hastings Pier also played host to some of the great music acts including the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix and Pink Floyd.Â It has also featured on some more recent music videos including Ash’s “Tracers” and Kingmaker’s “Queen Jane”.
These pictures show the damage caused by the fire to Hastings Pier’s top surface, and the intricate ironwork that makes up it’s structure. Although taken at midday, there was sufficient sea mist to create some nice sunrays through the gaps in the wood work.
Bodiam Castle, built in 1395 is another reminder that the landscape in East Sussex used to be much different. It was built to protect from French raids up the River Rother, when the river was navigable up to that point. It is a lovely ruin and has been photographed beautifully by many people, as a Google image search reveals. I didn’t want to take a generic photograph of the castle, so I’m pleased that the Google search, at least on search page 1, doesn’t have a similar photograph! Do they work as a composition though? Your opinions would be welcome!
*These images are revisions of the ones I originally posted. I’d neglected to flip the photos round so that Bodiam Castle was orientated correctly and it always bothered me. I’ve corrected that now. You can view these full size on my Flickr page by clicking on the photograph.