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Piers as Shrines?

March 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

 

My epiphany about piers:
Piers are Subtle Shrines to The Gift

Shrine?
Not overtly intentional shrines, like religious shrines.  Maybe like "historic recurrence" where human collective behavior repeats itself due to human nature repeating similar behaviors, worldwide.  Something about human nature just naturally wants these piers. So, like shrines that are built everywhere, humans build piers pretty much everywhere too.  And every day scores of people are drawn to them — drawn to shrines and drawn to piers.

But piers as shrines to what?

Oceanside Sunset Pier 151207 070Oceanside Sunset Pier 151207 070

Lightfoot_PierIntoSunsetLightfoot_PierIntoSunset

 

My living near a municipal pier, and studying photographically its relationship to human behavior [i.e. looking for the 'visual narrative'], led to a kind of "awakening" about piers being so universally appealing. About them being something more than the obvious.  But what is the more? That question led to a generalization about how humans were behaving in their interaction with piers. But it's so subtle, instinctive. The process has a hint of pilgrimage to it, but a pilgrimage to what?

The Gift?
I doubt that many people are thinking about piers this way.  I sense that people who seek out piers have motivations that are simple and instinctive, not needing any thought at all.
 
I wonder about the emotive elements, the gifts, that cause people to be drawn to piers; e.g. how piers sit at transitions — shore, horizon, sky, atmosphere, cosmos, creation. Piers are a vehicle carrying people to and through a transition.
 
So, I'm proposing that the pleasing sensations from transitions are the gift.
Oceanside Sunset Pier 151207 154Oceanside Sunset Pier 151207 154
 
But it's subtle, and I don't think people are thinking about it above a bit of instinct and an easy sense of pleasure as reward.  But it's there. Piers subtly reward us with their gift. People are drawn to them because they're rewarded with this subtle, instinctive gift that transitions our spirit in an uplifting way.
 
Pilgrimage?
The pilgrimage from shore to the end of the pier is short as pilgrimages go.  But it actually starts farther away; from home, or from work, or elsewhere in life.  It starts from the need for the experience of the gift that the pier delivers.  Maybe it starts from the need to reconnect, to transition from less connected to more connected, from less immersed to more immersed. 
 
Whatever the start, it arrives at the pier. Piers take people out to "the presentation", to be present with the present, in the moment. That's their gift to us, rewarding the pilgrimage's effort.
 
Oceanside Sunset Pier 151207 099Oceanside Sunset Pier 151207 099

Oceanside 150819 040_1_2_1aOceanside 150819 040_1_2_1a

 

Is Pier Photography Photojournalism?
It's impossible to photograph piers without people — even if they're not there they're implied, part of the narrative, the life in the narrative. 

Leaving The PierLeaving The Pier

And no, this photograph's characters are not zombies. They're consciousnesses returning from being out playing on a pier at night. There's been mischief, making-out, merrymaking, chasing each other, grab-assing, strolling, hanging-out, gazing down into the black water and/or out to sea, and so on. Alive little minds, running around in a gift.

I am visually drawn to all the elements coming together with the people at the 'apex'. I think of all these kinds of scenes as having a sense of transcendence, a sense encouraged by the fog. Day and night.
 
Pier Into The Fog [Day]Pier Into The Fog [Day]
Pier Through The LightPier Through The Light

Hence my epiphany about piers:
Piers are Subtle Shrines to The Gift.
For without the gift there's no need for piers.
 

 

 

 


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