This is the thirteenth edition of Street Source, a regular feature showcasing photos taken around Brighton over the course of a month by one of our photographers. The idea is to share spontaneous moments around town – be it incidental street scenes, snapshots of people’s lives or images of the city as a landscape. Each month we have images from a different photographer. Here’s Francesca Moore’s document of the i360 as she saw it during March 2017.
The i360 opened last year and has attracted a constant stream of visitors, but to many locals it’s like Marmite. As a slightly risk-averse person, with a mild fear of heights, I decided to contemplate the i360 from ground level. I’m glad I chose this tack as a technical fault in March meant the attraction had to close its doors again to visitors for the third time since it opened.
The benefits of taking the 30-minute ‘flight’ up a 450ft shaft with British Airways are supposed to include spectacular views out to sea and across the Downs. Yet, looking towards France or the Isle of Wight, I can’t imagine how one’s perspective of the horizon could change so dramatically considering the tower is positioned at one of the lowest points of the city – pretty much at sea level. And you only have to be near Brighton Station, many visitors’ first port of call, to catch a glimpse of the South Downs.
So, inspired by a friend’s snapshot from the viewing pod on a bright February day, I was inspired to delve further. I noticed that whilst there were indeed plenty of monotonous pictures of the sea, and sweeping scenes of the city towards the Downs, the most compelling shots were those pointing directly below, shooting through the glass bottom that separates you from ‘earth’.
Whilst a staggering 200 people can simultaneously experience that view below their feet, and form a collective memory of the experience to take away with them in megabytes, I am drawn to the experience not from within but from afar, and definitely from a grounded position.
This series of photographs looks at the i360 from elevated viewpoints from across the city, with each image accompanied by a document of the view below, i.e. what was at my feet. There are lots of easily accessible points on hills across the city where you can see both the sea and the Downs. Ironically, from most of them you can also see the tower.
Why is it that we can form collective memories of the i360 experience, but often ignore the things we see everyday? Is it simply that when we’re high up we’re forced see things differently for the first time? Is it novelty or just that the second perspective isn’t that interesting?
Words and photos by Francesca Moore
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