Urban Decay on a Day with The Golden Gate – 75th anniversary photos – essay and photographs by Michael Cuffe
Posted In: 2012, 75, 75th, anniversary, art, bridge, Cuffe, decay, fog, gate, golden, Michael, photo, photographer, photos, pictures, salt, urban, years
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I wanted to shoot the Golden Gate in a way not yet seen, highlighting the decay and wear on an monument to human inginuity. For a bridge that stands so proud, people often forget that it is in one of the harshest environments in the world. The tides rip at the base of the bridge daily, while workers furiously work to paint and repaint it’s slowly deteriorating surface. The fog that rolls in daily also carries with it tiny particles of salt, which also works at slowly eating the steel. Mind you, none of this accounts for the hurricane force winds that batter the face of the bridge, nor the estimated 120,000 people that cross it’s span everyday.
But the Golden Gate continues to stand proud, and just as strong as the day she was built.
Arriving at around 11am in mid April 2012 to commune with this icon, this gate to the San Francisco bay – it had been a dream of mine as a little kid to one day see the Golden Gate, let alone shoot it with professional camera gear. I wanted to capture the bridge on a one to one basis… and when you spend 8 hours with her, a personality emerges. The bridge is the West Coast’s “Statue of Liberty”, standing proud in her history and accomplishment, while showing her age gracefully.
The day turned out to be overcast, which kept the wind down, and the light perfect for shooting. Honestly, it was about as nice of weather as you could expect on the Golden Gate, and the tourist traffic was almost non-existant.
As the latter end of the day, the sun peaked out at dusk. Four single engine planes made a pass overhead, as a lead plane shot out smoke as it crossed the span of the bridge – a perfect end to a perfect day.
My pictures tell the story of a day with the Golden Gate better than words alone, and I hope you enjoy this close up look at this infamous bridge.
Happy 75th Baby.
-written with photos by Michael Cuffe