75 Years & Counting: The Golden Gate Bridge

Photographing the Golden Gate Bridge is a challenge on many levels – quite literally!  Nearly 9,000 feet in length, and rising almost 800 feet into the air, it doesn’t pose easily for the camera.

I can only assume from looking at the images of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, that neither Jet Lowe, working for the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), nor Carol M. Highsmith have a fear of heights.  How else could they create their beautiful and dizzying photographs of this world famous bridge?

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.17937

View from top of southern tower, Golden Gate Bridge

View from top of southern tower, Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Jet Lowe for HAER, 1984. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.ca1355/color.570639c

Highsmith came to her subject from the air, photographing from helicopter or plane, capturing the majesty of the bridge and its place in the landscape.

Lowe got more up close and personal with the Golden Gate. His photo from the top of the southern tower could give anyone vertigo – but also shows the impressive height better than any statistic could.

When the Golden Gate Bridge first opened to the public on May 27, 1937, it was the longest suspension bridge in existence. Today it stands as one of the most well-known bridges in the world, iconic at every level, even the color.

San Francisco celebrates the bridge so deeply tied to its city identity this Sunday with a 75th birthday party about as big as the one they threw on her first weekend.  She’s aging pretty well, don’t you think?

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One Comment

  1. kiyohisa Tanada
    May 26, 2012 at 6:40 am

    When I went to San Francisco, I went to “the Golden Gate Bridge”.
    It did not seem that “the Golden Gate Bridge” was covered for the fog.
    Speaking of the West Coast, I think that “it is a Golden Gate Bridge” in Japan.

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