Bridge as metaphor

Feedback for assignment 1 suggested Andreas Gursky as suggested reading. This was interesting as I had a photograph of his in mind when I took this as part of the assignment

I already knew this location and had it in mind to use this as part of my work here. The idea to use this location was suggested by a photograph – “Mulheim, Angers” by Andreas Gursky I had seen last year at the Hayward Gallery.

In my mind I had the intention to illustrate the idea of a better world passing by, that one may not realise that although our situation may seem Ok to us, in fact we are sidelined by the rest of the world going in a completely different direction. Although a bridge could act as a visual barrier in a photograph, really it does not block our way at all but does ignore us altogether.
When choosing this setting I had in my mind what I thought was in Gursky’s photograph. Looking again though, I see differences. Here the bridge is much less central to the whole scene. Although I am sure they are aware of it, the anglers themselves cannot actually see the bridge from their position. It is far enough away that they may not be able to hear it either. There is much more of a sense that the bridge provides an alternate path that they are quite happy to ignore; it would not add anything to their existence and although it is a road, is a metaphorical dead end.

At another extreme we can consider more of the work of Nadav Kander in his “Yangtze, The Long River” series. Here are several to choose from but I will take “Yibin II (Counting Receipts), Sichuan Province” as an example

In this photograph the man is doing his best to ignore the vast bridge over his head although it cannot be possible to do so. He may wish to ignore it – as in Gursky’s photograph – but it dominates his environment. He is on a deserted river bank with nothing else around him; it is as if not only has the rest of the world gone a different way, they have left him with nothing. It is this sense of abandonment I wanted to show in my photograph but not so dramatically. A sense of frustration rather than despair, where the injustice is as much perceived as it is actually real.

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