Brighton Horizons / by Alex Bamford


I’ve been closing one eye and lining up things out of windows for as long as I can remember. With this series, I’ve made repeat visits to a spot by the West Pier where the poles line up with the horizon.

One of the joys of living in Brighton is staring out to sea. The coastline in this part of East Sussex is fairly featureless, not far off from being a straight line. But if you stand on the seafront and look out, you get almost 180 degrees of uninterrupted horizon. It’s like standing on the edge of the world, with limitless possibilities just out of sight. 

My Horizons project started with a chance purchase of an oversized tripod - the smaller one I had originally ordered was out of stock and this model was a bargain. The ability to look at things from just a few feet higher appealed to me - I could take photos of familiar scenes but with a slightly different viewpoint. 

Walking onto the beach with my tripod one day I saw that I could line up the rusting West Pier poles with the horizon, which helped define the horizon even further, whilst almost splitting the frame into two separate images. It’s a composition that I found immediately rewarding, probably because it jarred a little bit.

I have a rather dogged approach to personal photography projects, once
I start one I find it hard to let go. This was no different, I wanted to explore how this view would look at different times of day and night, in the various extremes of weather. 

To mark my shooting position I placed a discarded yellow plastic golf tee on the pebbles. The tee stayed there for a couple of months, so it must have been before beach cleaning started in earnest. Now the tee has gone, I measure out set paces across the beach like a pirate looking for treasure on a map. 

So if you’re ever wandering by the West Pier and see a photographer with one eye closed, teetering on tiptoes beneath a huge tripod, you’ll know it’s me.