Remains of the West Pier

West Pier, Brighton © 2011 Mufidah Kassalias

Following yesterday’s post about Eastbourne Pier in which I mentioned the fires in 2003 that destroyed West Pier in Brighton, I thought a good follow-on post would be this image of the remains of West Pier. I took the photo on Christmas Day last year, after Sean and I decided on the spur of the moment to drive into Brighton for the afternoon. We walked along the beach for a while and then (another spontaneous decision) popped into Sushi Garden for an alternative Christmas dinner, concluding in the moment that we could cook our intended festive-inspired meal the following day. Post-udon noodles and genmaicha tea we walked back down to the beach to watch the sunset, at which point I took the above photograph (about 10 or 15 minutes before the sun fell below the horizon).

The four posts rising out of the sea in the foreground are what remain of the cast iron columns that formed the supporting structure of the pier, and the large skeletal structure is the internal frame of the concert hall that once graced the end of the pier. I’m not sure of the origins of the smaller piece of debris on the right. The concentrated dots of birds in the sky are mostly starlings, which every evening perform a magnificent, graceful dance before swooping into the pier to nest for the night.

In choosing this image I hummed and hawed between the original colour version (which itself was quite monochrome) and the sepia version, which I decided on in the end as I feel it echoes something of the pier in its heyday.

39 responses

    • Yes, pictures of the West Pier are ubiquitous in Brighton and I’ve not had much inclination to photograph it, except for on that day. Considering you’ve seen so many pictures it’s good to know that you like what I’ve done :-)

      • Always great to try different compositions (I do that all the time :) ). Totally agree with the iron columns. I think, as beautiful as the pier is, those iron columns really catch my eye and take the photo to another level. my eye bounces back and forth between the different elements. Great photo, Mufidah. :)

        • Yes, it’s good to try different angles, sometimes those that you shoot more casually or experimentally turn out to be the best ones. And thanks for stopping by again to add more comments about the photograph, much appreciated :-)

  1. its a beautiful image. Agree with Katie above that the birds in the distance pull your attention immediately towards and around the pier. The framing choice also gives emphasis to the foreground elements (remnants of the post) balancing the overall feel. Use of monochrome was apt too

    • Thanks Karen. It took a few years for the very end of the pier to become completely disconnected from the posts and the shore — it was a gradual disintegration with more and more pieces of the pier falling into the sea.

  2. It’s such an eye-catcher of a pictures. Strikes something deep in me. Brings up feelings about abandonment, loneliness and isolation. Beautiful graphics and the birds seems almost to attack the destroyed construction out in the sea. Well balanced with the wave in the foreground and the expressive sky. Very well done.

    • Thanks Otto! It’s great to hear when pictures spark emotional responses such as you’ve described. And thank you, also, for your comment about the composition — I really like the wave myself as it adds much to the feel of the picture.

    • Thank you Jimi — there are a couple more posts on the beach itself and people often use them to frame the pier itself, but I wanted to do something different with this, so stood off to the side, so good to know you like the composition.