This project's funding goal was not reached on January 7, 2012.
About this project
Oregon Highway 101 dazzles with incredible beauty that lies around virtually every bend. As a driver, it’s a tough road to focus on the task of actually driving as the eye is captivating by the crashing surf, jagged rock formations or monstrous sand dunes. The many waysides beckon you to pull over and to take it all in, reminding yourself how insignificant you are against nature’s power. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world. There’s something about its mighty power that lures me back and am always in awe of it.
There are 20 key bridges connecting the communities along Highway 101 from Astoria to Brookings. Statements of our ingenuity and ability to tame the environment. And on a calm day with soft coastal breezes lapping at your cheeks, you feel as if you’re on top of the world. These special bridges connect us and provide easy travel to our next destination. However, we don’t always notice them as we’re taken by the shear beauty of the natural environment. Look closer and you realize they’re not just utilitarian structures carrying us from points A to B,. but designed to delight the eye and complement the environment they inhabit each in their own way. 11 of these bridges were designed by world renowned engineer Conde B. McCullough and built in the late 20s and 30s. Before them, you had to take a ferry from point to point. Sadly, his Alsea Bay Bridge, succumbed to the elements and had to be replaced in the mid 90s, however the new structure echoes the beauty of the original.
I grew up traveling across the nearly 5 mile long Astoria bridge which connects Oregon and Washington. It’s an amazing experience speeding down the steep main span as if you’re plunging into the river only to land on the flat structure that makes up most of it. At times, the sideways rain common here makes you feel as if you’re almost in the river itself. I’ve never grown tired of crossing it.
And then there’s the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport – now 75 years old. It’s concrete and metal arches dance across Yaquina Bay like a pebble skipping across a still lake. Because he knew people would be below just as much as on his bridges, McCullough designed the structures beneath to please the eye. And he didn’t disappoint. Time Magazine once noted that the Yaquina Bay Bridge was one of the most beautiful bridges in the world – and most photographed.
The Wilson River Bridge, 10 Mile and Big Creek Bridges are all the same but delicately sited. Few people stop to take them in yet they’re just as beautiful for the way they respect their surroundings.
Should you stop to reflect a moment, you can find yourself feeling the tenuous relationship you have with the earth and the fleeting time we have to occupy it. It’s a shame that we don’t savor such beauty more as we’re caught up pushing email and chasing paper much of our lives. In fact we’re so insulated from the elements that it’s easy to be disconnected from the ground we walk on. What with our manufactured, climate-controlled consumer environments. Yet no matter how much we try to control and protect ourselves from the elements, take in the views on the 101 and you realize quickly who holds the power.
Twenty Bridges is a celebration of these graceful structures that bring us closer together. I'm trying to capture them in the context of their environment as well as the details that complete the whole. Each has many stories to tell of the people who’ve traveled up and down the coast. Residents and tourists. Kids and families. Couples on a romantic drive.
Starting with the Astoria-Megler bridge at the top of the state and ending with the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge crossing the Rogue River in Gold Beach, come along with me on a trip down the Oregon Coast.
The end product will be a gallery exhibition in the fall of 2012 featuring a mix of large prints of each bridge and smaller prints that showcase each of these bridges in their environment. There will also be a finely-produced coffee table book plus a short film about the drive down the Oregon coast. Your support will help cover the cost of film, high-resolution drum scans and gallery prints. Anything above the minimum will go towards enhancing the gallery show and production of the film.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (40 days)