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August 31, 2005
St. Anne's Pier (detail of panorama)
Photographer Lawrence Giles spent over four years creating highly detailed panoramic timescapes of the remaining 54 seaside pier sites along the coastlines of England and Wales. This collection of 54 panoramas (each measuring over 2 meters wide, and each consisting of up to 200 individual photographs stitched together seamlessly) has been exhibited at many of the original pier locations and has attracted interest from sociologists, anthropologists, historians, and of course, British beach goers of all ages.
The seaside piers around the coast of Britain not only stand as a powerful reminder of the achievements of Victorian engineers and entrepreneurs, but more importantly act as a catalyst for the creation and sharing of early and formative memory.
The revisiting of known/familiar sites (our first encounter of these sites are predominately rooted in our formative years by either our parents or grandparents, and frequently culminate in ourselves revisiting or introducing our own lineage to these locales) are rich in connotations associated to the ebb and flow of our own remembering, and hint at times towards the fragments of memory captured and collected from our past and now revisited/washed ashore.
The recording, documentation, filing and preserving of a photographic record is, by its very nature, an act of faith in the future. As an aide memoire, and as we ourselves visit/revisit these areas we are in essence involved the continual process of 'remembering the past by the creation of the new'.
Perhaps central to this revisiting lies in our own sense of the familiar and in the security that this implies and instils. This 'comfort in the familiar' is implicit and constant, and it is perhaps this commonality that links these sites to each other, and ourselves in turn to them.
The beauty of these sites of leisure therefore exist in their similarity, in the aspect of the constant, the known and the given. It is this significance in these apparent and seemingly insignificant moments of time that I am attempting to capture and collect which lie central to the work itself - not in the sense of the personal and private record or document, but more so in the creation of an album of communally shared private moments.