A selection from Simon Roberts’ Pierdom project has found its way onto the end of the newly restored Hastings Pier. Roberts’ large format, detached, almost washed-out approach has captured remotest Russia and it now finds itself put to good use standing back and surveying what remains of the obsessions of an earlier time: those juts out into the sea which now stand in differing forms of use.
Whether that’s a pleasuredome backdrop to seemingly eternal donkey rides (Blackpool), a somewhat pointless preserved stroll out into the sea (Clevedon) or a burnt out husk waiting for the end (West Pier, Brighton) via all points in between. Roberts is not here, Bert Hardy-like, to show us the human interaction; he observes the form but on such a scale that it renders the people irrelevant. It’s nice to have such observation at a time when the prevailing mood is for close-up and action.
The setting of this showing is obviously well chosen and it was goos to be part of a decent crowd on an otherwise empty pier soaking in these images – even if from Roberts’ far-away vantage point our presence would hardly be noticed.