Hugh Chatham Memorial Bridge

This series of images of the Hugh Chatham Memorial Bridge was taken during the spring and summer of 2010, a few months before demolition was to begin. After being closed to vehicle traffic for several years, state and local governments deemed it not feasible to restore the bridge for vehicle use, nor maintain it for pedestrian use. The cost for renovation was too high and the liability too great a risk to let it stand as is. Trying to balance the preservation of history, the forward march of progress, and the economics of the two can be a tough trio to juggle. When the actual structure can't be saved, we can only turn to creating a record of what was. This is generally done in the form of documents containing the technical specifications; dates, location, dimensions, and a time line history, along with a few reference images showing what it looked like. But this does not capture the spirit of a place, or begin to express the relationship between the structure and the community surrounding it. As a resident of Yadkin County, I was well aware of the status of the bridge as a local landmark and the iconic role it played in the landscape and identity of Elkin and Jonesville, NC. There is a saying that some things are greater than the sum of the parts. This very well describes the feeling many residents of the area had about the Hugh Chatham Memorial Bridge. I have seen several beautiful images in different mediums of this historic bridge, attesting to the widespread importance and meaning it held for many in the area. It is fantastic that so many artists have put forth their vision and effort in creating something more than just a historic footnote of this iconic landmark. Hearing local people talk about the bridge and it's pending demolition, along with my own memories of driving over, under, and around the bridge during the days of high school cruising, a memory no doubt shared by many, inspired me to create a set of images that are more than just a photographic record of what the bridge looked like. I wanted to present it in a way that showcased the unique beauty that a simple, humble concrete and steel structure could have when truly appreciated by those who see the sum as more than the parts. If you're wondering why it took so long for me to make these images available, there are two reasons. First, I needed time to consider the various ways I could process and present the final images. Secondly, I simply didn't have the skills needed to create whatever vision I might develop. Despite practicing photography as a hobby off and on for roughly 25 years since elementary school, I had only began to experiment with and understand digital photography about a year prior to taking these photos, and had just began to explore the role and ability of software in creating fine art photographic images. These reasons, along with my desire to publish only the highest quality work, has delayed the release of this series until now. I hope you enjoy.