Thursday 17 July 2008

Newport Transporter Bridge

One day last week I made a journey to view one of the last two working Transporter Bridges in the UK at Newport Casnewydd in South Wales. It’s a remarkable structure and a survivor from the Golden Age of heavy engineering. It was constructed to a design by a French engineer, Ferdinand Arnodin and brought into use in 1906. Arnodin was a specialist in the design of this type of bridge and there were four other examples of his work in France, in Brest, Nantes, Rouen and Marseille, none of which have survived.

Structures like this formed the basis of the Constructivist approach to the visual arts in the days of the Great Soviet Experiment in the 1920’s. A decade later the American Precisionists would form their own response. For photographers the opportunities for exploring the visual dynamics are limitless. Rodchenko, Moholy-Nagy and Germaine Krull all aimed their lenses at these wonders of engineering with brilliant results. I allowed myself the luxury of following these illustrious forebears and these are a few of the results.

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