I have returned to my bridge project. The working title is now Strength And Beauty – The Bridges Of Baltimore. I have shot about 50 large format negatives for this project and am at the point where it is time to make serious prints. These are being done in the darkroom and I am seeing the advantages of having shot them on sheet film. What I mean by this is that when getting ready to expose the image I am looking at the scene upside down on the camera’s ground glass. Doing things in this way takes away the feeling that I am taking a picture of “something,” but this procedure results in abstraction of the scene.
When photographing a “thing,” the object becomes the item of prime importance. In this project I am going less for a replication of the “thing” I see before me, and more for the feeling of the scene. In this particular instance, I was struck by the awesome structure combined with the flow of the road. The roadway here appears to be so delicate, but its delicacy is protected by the massive structure supporting it. As is the case with many of the prints I have made to date, there is much to explore within the image. One can take the scene apart and examine portions of it, with the result of increasing abstraction and differing feeling. This is something I hope to explore with the next couple of images that are offered.
Please describe your feeling with each shots. I am interested in where your eye sees the delicacy protected by the structure.
My feeling in this particular image is like that of King Kong holding Fay Wray, a giant gently holding a fragile being. The dark area at the top is actually a crossing roadway, but I see that more as a looming structure pressing down on the rest of the scene. The t-shaped abutments push up from the bottom, holding up dark elements that offer a feeling of a great weight. Finally, above that is the lightness of the ribbon that runs into, then out of the frame, momentarily offering a peek at its surroundings as it moves around the bend.
The feeling I get is that of an immense structure gently cradling a fragile element – strength holding beauty.