Gouwe Rail Bridge, Gouda, Netherlands 2016—Copyright 2017 Robert Richfield
Instilled with a love of mighty bridges as a child in Cincinnati, where five of them cross the Ohio River, Robert Richfield set out to photograph them in all of their horizontal grandeur. Early attempts included multiple exposures of 4×5 negatives, which must have been maddening to produce. Digital processes make it easier to stitch together numerous shots into panoramas, which he prints 2 or 3 feet high and 8, 10, and 20 feet across.
My initial reaction to this work was that it was a gimmick and I shouldn’t let myself like it so easily. It didn’t stick. Sometimes an obvious strategy is the right one.
Koninginnebrug Road and De Hef Rail Bridges, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2015) is especially strong, 240 inches wide and pieced together from sequential views of the bridge’s draw and drop. It looks like the backbone of a whale being rolled. Another image breaks up the bridge over Buzzard’s Bay into rising and falling pieces, as if musical notes scaling a stanza.
This review is being simultaneously published at Delicious Line, deliciousline.org. Franklin Einspruch is the editor-in-chief of Delicious Line.