Fine Art Photography Daily

Jamey Stillings: The Bridge at Hoover Dam

This week I am featuring work that I encountered at Review LA, either in a review or at the Portfolio Walk.

Jamey Stillings had a stand-out project at Review LA. His images of The Bridge at Hoover Dam, were not only other-worldly, but his enthusiam and professionalism in presenting his project mirrored the incredible project he produced. This is truly a phenomenal body of work.

For the last 28 years, Jamey has worked as a professional photographer. He graduated with an MFA from the Rochester Insitute and now makes his home in Santa Fe, NM. He’s a photographer’s photographer, engaged in a wide variety of photographic aspects and subjects, from world cultures to social and environmental issues, to advertising and commissioned work. His goal is to approach all his interests with the same desire to celebrate the human spirit. The Bridge at Hoover Dam certainly does that. Images celebrate this achievement from near and far, from the human scale to planetary scale. This project was featured in a photo essay in the New York Times last spring. Jamey is now looking for significant venues to share the work, and a book will surely be coming in the future.

How a structure and its creation are documented greatly impacts how it is remembered in history. Construction of the bridge downstream from Hoover Dam is unique both for its historical importance, by its proximity to the dam, and for its technical achievement, bridging the Black Canyon over the Colorado River with the longest concrete arch span in North America. This bridge challenges us to examine the juncture of nature and technology on a scale, which is both grand and human.

The bridge, part of the Hoover Dam Bypass Project, will eventually divert the majority of traffic between Arizona and Nevada off Hoover Dam. This engineering challenge, on par with any current national or international project, has required the creation of a 1060 foot twin-rib tubular concrete arch, which springs from both the Arizona and Nevada sides of the Black Canyon to its rendezvous approximately 850 feet over the Colorado River. When complete in late 2010, the 1900 foot bridge will be the longest concrete arch span in the United States and the fourth longest in the world.

I first encountered the bridge in March 2009, and it immediately captured my imagination. Watching the bridge’s construction, especially at night, is both magical and inspiring. This photo essay has allowed me to meld photographic and aesthetic sensibilities with a reawakened sense of childhood curiosity and awe. Photographically, it is creatively and technically challenging, dynamic and transitory.

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