Brooklyn Bridge, New York

When I decided to do more travel photography and write a blog (lesmorris, walking and photographing the Brooklyn Bridge was. by some considerable distance, my priority “project’

This “passion” owed much to the excellent documentary by Ken Burns covering the history of this landmark and iconic construction.

The technical aspects of the bridge are worthy of much discussion with the fact that the bridge’s powerful arches made it the tallest structure in North America at the time of it’s completion. It’s use of steel cabling was also a “first”

But, for me, the important history of the Brooklyn Bridge is a story of people, specifically, the remarkable Roebling family.

The bridge construction was conceived by the father, a Prussian engineer, John A Roebling

However, following an accident on the contraction site, he died through septic poisoning and his talented son, Washington Roebling took over. Washington’s military training made him a formidable project manager but he was also to become incapacitated by the work.

The construction required him and his workers to spend some time under the partially constructed arches operating under compressed air. At that time, it was not appreciated that anyone working under such pressure needed to be slowly decompressed afterwards ( to avoid what we call today “the bends”).

Consequently, Washington became bed-bound and his wife Emily took over the site management role with such great effect that she is commemorated with a special plaque on the bridge.

Choosing a single picture to represent this remarkable structure was not easy. I wanted to show the arches but also recognised that the cabling was at the heart of the bridge.

Further, there was another reason to emphasise the cabling .

Shortly before the due opening date, it was discovered that the cable supplier had failed to meet the required specifications and it was too late to replace the installed cables ( probably not even technically possible). So additional wires had to be wrapped around the all the main cabling ( which incidentally has a total length of 14,000 miles) - quite a feat.

I couldn’t decide whether the photo worked best in colour or monochrome so I settled on a desaturated image which I think satisfies me