It is at the intersections of nature and the hand of man that the greatest visual, philosophical, environmental and political energy exists. As a species, humans choose to alter nature when utilitarian, creative or egoistic purposes require it. Once such alterations occur, the landscape seldom returns to its natural state. We may be intrigued, inspired, indeed seduced, by those changes as we establish an order, pattern and structure that provides utility for ourselves and our culture. Yet, we may also be challenged by what this transformation entails.
The Bridge at Hoover Dam, officially the Mike O’Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, is a captivating structure, crossing the Black Canyon over the Colorado River with the longest concrete arch span in North America. The Bridge and Hoover Dam is now an inseparable pair, sharing the arch in their essential geometry and function. Aesthetically, the dam is massive and solid, while the bridge takes on a soaring and simple elegance.
I first photographed the bridge in March 2009. The photo essay, which developed from that initial encounter, allowed me to meld photographic and aesthetic sensibilities with a reawakened sense of childlike curiosity and awe. Dynamic and transitory, the bridge was creatively and technically challenging as a photographic subject. Watching its construction, especially at night, was inspiring and captivating.
Over a two-year period, I returned to the bridge again and again. As it evolved, each visit required fresh perspectives and visual inquiry. The opportunity to spend extended time with a single ‘subject’ brought a depth of understanding both to the approach and the resulting body of work. The overarching goals of The Bridge at Hoover Dam are to acknowledge the collective talents and labors of those who built the bridge, to place the bridge within the historical and aesthetic context of Hoover Dam and the AmericanWest, and to initiate a dialogue that the imposition of infrastructure within a natural environment inevitably summons.
– Jamey Stillings