For his latest book, Pierdom, British photographer Simon Roberts has travelled the coastline of Britain to create a comprehensive and fascinating photographic record of the country’s remaining pleasure piers, an homage to these monuments of Victorian engineering and eccentricity.
The book is, at once, a historical catalogue and a compilation of British seaside landscapes. Historically, the book shows how the pleasure pier reflects Britain’s changing relationship to the seaside, from the early links with the Romantics, to the engineering feats and technical advancement of the Industrial Revolution. But the book is also a love letter to the British coast, capturing the landscape at its most romantic (sunset) and its most realistic (rain) with equal affection.
Fitting for a photographer whose last book was titled, We English, this book feels British, through and through. The subject matter of the book — the piers and the seascapes — combine with the careful exactitude of the book itself to capture a time, place, and cultural sensibility.
The book closes with a quote from a particularly British writer, the poet Sir John Betjeman: "Piers provide a walk on the sea without the disadvantage of being seasick and are havens of fresh air and freedom which we can ill afford to lose".
If you find yourself agreeing with Betjeman's words, this book is for you.
Pierdom by Simon Roberts
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing
Paperback: 160 pages