As I’ve previously noted, I seem to spend a lot of time photographing underneath bridges. The beauty of the scene from the deck of a bridge is often pretty self-evident. On the other hand, the elegance and grace—in a “form follows function” kind of way—of the practical constructions that are under and hold up the bridge are not always so clear. But I find myself moved by the humble engineering that holds the weight of the bridge span on its shoulders. I think what is underneath a bridge is often visually very sexy.
In Paris, it is very easy to access the under parts of the bridges across the Seine from the paths beside the river. In previous times, I’ve made images in this way of Parisian bridges, including the Pont Solferino and the Pont de la Concorde.
This April’s collection of Parisian under-bridge spans began with the Pont de Grenelle, photographed from the Île aux Cygnes. Next, on a bright and breezy day we walked along the right bank starting near the Île Saint Louis past the Pont D’Arcole and the Pont Notre Dame, emerging from the river side just past the Pont des Arts.
I had a great time photographing these bridges, and am glad I can share my images with you.
From a general perspective, next time you are photographing something structural, consider how it works and what is holding the structure up. Often, visual analysis stops at surface appearance. But I also like to think about the under carriage and the mechanism, as this can be as profound and significant as the face that is presented to the world.