Ron Tarver, Manayunk Train Bridge

Ron Tarver: Manayunk Train Bridge (1997) Toned gelatin silver print
Manayunk Train Bridge
Toned gelatin silver print
Credit Line
Gift of the artist, 2011

"It seems the city is generally photographed in one of two ways: as crumbling harbinger of the apocalypse or as gleaming tribute to the future,” says artist Ron Tarver. "I choose to explore its poetry and wonder. I want to create photographs of the city's soul.”

This work illustrated an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about great bridges in Philadelphia. It was originally shot not for documentary purposes, but rather to capture the essence of the bridge with moody, dreamlike imagery. The artist explains, "I was drawn to the bridge the minute I laid eyes on it. It's so ancient in its design, reminding one of the Roman aqueducts. I remember when I first moved to Philly nearly 30 years ago, driving in on the Schuylkill and seeing the bridge. My first thoughts were ‘Where am I?'”

Tarver photographed the bridge at night with a 4 x 5 view camera. He produced the soft edges using an extended printing process -about ten times longer than normal -during which light spills beyond the borders of the easel. It's an unpredictable technique that makes each print unique.

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