To me, there is no civil existence without bridges. We tend to forget about them, to disregard them, to see them as instruments. The weather and our moods change around them with the seasons. The climate of the city shifts from rushed to fearful and back again but they remain, steadfast and beautiful. We give them our trust, but we owe them our attention and our respect. While in New York they are constantly rehabilitated, they are not yet preserved with the attention they deserve. Let us see them for the objects of beauty that they are, and for the interconnectedness they generate.
My interest in bridges was born where I grew up, in the small salt mining town, Varangéville, France. A long steel footbridge, called la "passerelle", connected the town’s two halves across a canal. As it separated my nuclear family from the rest of the village where my school and relatives were, it became more than a passageway for me; it became my playground. Every day, I explored its beams and underpass.
I was ten years old when my father handed me his Kodak Brownie, and I began to photograph the world around me, including my bridge. I snapped pictures of neighbors walking over the bridge, of the barges passing by on our canal overflowing with salt and limestone. My journey as an autodidact started here: I ran around the village, clicked the button on the little black box, and brought the rolls of film to the local photographer who let me stay to watch as he developed and brought the images to life. It was addictive. My "passerelle", with its steel cross-beams, reminds me now of the Bridges of New York.
The Bridges of Manhattan Project is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Jerôme Bonnouvrier, who gave me the strength to pursue a dream.