About the Artist
Being airborne must be like being reborn. As earthbound creatures, our thoughts and visions are quite understandably linked to the physical plane, and we ignore or at least minimize transcendental experience. Pilots, astronauts, undersea explorers, even mountain climbers, are fortunate. They must learn to function in alien environments and to experience unique perspectives. Seeing from above is not consistent with seeing from the ground. It is not just a matter of up and down. It took me quite some time to be able to condense information from such a large scale of vision. Seeing from a bird's perspective with very human eyes initially can be confusing--one gets lost in the sweep of imagery and feels restricted by the apparent flatness of everything. But when one flies and photographs, as I do, at low altitudes, shadows lift objects from the ground, and, instead of cold geometric patterns on the earth's surface, intimacy is regained. There is the unmistakable awareness of warmth of contact and valid awareness of inter-relationships.
Iuse dramatic lighting, sharp contrasts between light and shadow, which adds a multi-dimensional quality to the work, allowing the viewer to be drawn into the photograph--as if going beyond the real to the more real.
By consciously maneuvering the aircraft in such a way as to place light and shadow in relationship to material forms, I control the shapes and patterns within the frame. By maintaining the relationship between tone, shape and texture, the gesture evoked by the symbolic nature of the subject is reinforced. The work then is alive and meaningful and not merely a record of the charted landscape.
Marilyn Bridges is one the world's foremost aerial photographers. Born in New Jersey in 1948, she studied drawing at the Art Students League in New York, and received an MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1981. Her photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and are included in more than fifty major collections.
Bridges' photographs, usually taken at low altitude from a small, single-engine aircraft, force the viewer to examine the landscape from an unfamiliar perspective. Through photographic studies of ancient, sacred and secular architecture and ground art around the world and equally poignant surveys of the contemporary landscape, Bridges has instigated a dialogue with which to examine man's future.
Marilyn Bridges' books include: Markings: Aerial Views of Sacred Landscapes (Aperture, 1986); Marilyn Bridges: The Sacred and Secular (ICP, 1990); Planet Peru (Aperture 1991) Vue d'Oiseau, La Mission Photographique Transmanche (Centre Regional de la Photographie, Douchy, France, 1996); Sacred and Secular: The Aerial Photography of Marilyn Bridges, CD-Rom (The Voyager Co., 1996) Egypt: Antiquities from Above (Bulfinch Press, 1996); This Land is Your Land (Aperture, 1997). Among her commissions are: Ohio Historical Society, Ministère de la Culture (Paris), Mercedes Benz (Stuttgart) Parnasssus Foundation (Houston, Montreal), the State of Maranhao (Brazil), the Danish Tourist Board and La Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, Belgium.
Bridges was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1982, a New York State CAPS Grant in 1983, a NEA Grant in 1984, and a Fulbright Fellowship in 1988. She was elected a fellow of The Explorers Club in New York in 1988. She is a licensed pilot for both single engine and multi-engine aircraft. Bridges lives outside of New York City and in Somerset, England.
The exhibition consists of 50 images. There are two groups of 25 images arranged in a 5x5 grid of small thumbnail images. Each thumbnail links to a medium sized image with title and date. Each of these pages links to the next medium size image in the series. You can navigate between the medium sized images or return to the grid when you choose. Each medium size image links to a larger image. Click the "return" link on the large image to return to the medium size image.
All images in this exhibition are for sale as silver gelatin prints signed by the artist. Please contact Marilyn Bridges if you are interested in further information or to purchase any image. Ms. Bridges has a website at www.marilynbridges.com