The irony of art. Photographs are appreciated at a more meaningful level when they depict a time-frame a generation ago. If you look at any show currently running at a Chelsea Gallery, you will see what I mean. Viewers of the work reminisce about a time they didn’t know. Or a time they did, but grow nostalgic and only recount the good. These images are also appreciated if what is there in the image no longer exists in reality; people or buildings or parks or cities, just to name a few.
The appreciation is usually stated with emotion; the details of that time are eliminated and anything ugly is virtually nonexistent. It seems difficult for contemporary work to resonate with viewers in the same way since the work still needs to find its place in history-it doesn’t hold the full meaning of the time until the time has passed us by. This holds true for 2014 as it did in 1914 as it did in 1814 as it did…you get what I mean. Case in point, Vincent Van Gogh.
The winter of 2010 was a snowy one, three serious storms alone in the month of February.
On most inclement weather days I find myself more often than not photographing the blizzards and hurricanes. Partially because of the excitement of the event, partially because there are very few people out in these conditions. And as much as I enjoy the rhythm of the city, empty streets on these occasions are a wonderful change.
On this particular day, the 26th of February, I strolled along in the storm finding my way to the river. Crossing over the footbridge made of concrete and steel I noticed the paint was chipping, the cement was cracking and there was graffiti on the supports. The metal fencing along the top to “keep us in” was rusted and bent. An old city structure of more than 70 years.
Unknowingly, photographing this bridge at this point in time, I was creating a photographic history as the bridge was fated to be removed 1 1/2 years later. In the early morning hours of July 31, 2011 the footbridge would be demolished; 141 tons of cement and steel would be lifted by one crane. By barge it would be transported to New Jersey, where it would be broken down to rubble and recycled.
The textures of this old structure were quite beautiful, it was more than a bridge. A sculpture erected in a time when things were simpler. A point in time where we sometimes grow nostalgic.