Feb 13, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge


Kenneth Snelson

(American, 1927–2016)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 39.4 x 231.9 cm (15 1/2 x 91 5/16 in.); Paper: 50.5 x 243.2 cm (19 7/8 x 95 3/4 in.)

Wishing Well Fund 1996.12

Impression: 5



This sweeping photograph of New York's Brooklyn Bridge and East River is from a series of panoramas that grew from Kenneth Snelson's desire to see in all directions at once, a feat impossible for the human eye. Using an antique, turn-of-the-century Kodak Cirkut camera, in 1980 Snelson made a number of monumental photographs of New York City landmarks. Mounted on a tripod, a small motor rotated the entire camera while the film was driven at the same speed in the opposite direction past an opening. This enabled exposures of 360° or more. Taking about 40 seconds to make its complete circuit, the camera produced vast negatives about sixteen inches high and nearly eight feet long, which were then contact-printed. This compelling composition is difficult to decipher since the straight lines that angle away from the camera appear curved in the flattened image. The freeways shown on both sides of the photograph are actually a single roadway.

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Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Wishing Well Fund

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