About photobooks – old and new.
Title: The Bridge
Authors: Gay Talese (text), Lili Rethi (drawings), Bruce Davidson (photographs)
Publisher: Harper & Row Publishers (New York)
Year: 1964 (first edition) – [There is a recent edition from 2014, published by Bloomsbury Publishing]
8vo, Hardcover, Orange cloth, illustrated dust jacket.
182 pages, including 23 photographs from Bruce Davidson.
This is at the same time a technological documentary, about the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge – considered the longest span in the world – and a social documentary, about the workers and all those who were affected by this new structure in the city. Regarding the later, the book looks at the dispossessed families of Bay Ridge (Brooklyn), who lost their homes and in many cases their livelihoods with the massive construction of Verrazano bridge. It gives particular attention to the construction workers, including the army of Native Americans (whom are referred in the book as “Indians”), who came from different parts of the country to live and work on the construction site as bridge builders. The book was dedicated to the iron workers, a group that deserved special attention in this social documentary, as they were the backbone of the whole construction process. In addition, the marvels of engineering precision, underpinning the Verrazano-Narrows bridge itself, are also well captured in this documentary. This photobook is the result of the collaboration of the journalist and writer Gay Talese, the photographer Bruce Davidson, and the illustrator/artist Lili Rethi.