Page 70 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - December 2019
P. 70

SPECIAL BOOK REVIEW                                by Peter Hildebrandt

                          Bridge Man, Dave Frieder’s New Book Showcases His Art

             ave Frieder’s new book, The Magnificent Bridges of New
         DYork, is the culmination of years of hard work — even if
         all those climbs to the tops of the towers were a true labor of
         love. As explored over recent years in pages of Wire Rope News,
         Frieder ultimately came to climb and photograph virtually all
         of the New York Metropolitan area’s stunning spans.
           The New York-born Frieder’s enthusiasm for his work and
         awe-inspiring  subjects  —  works  of  architectural  and vital
         transport function — never flagged.  And always, toward the
         end of each conversation was added the joy of telling me of
         the book he planned to complete.
           Recently I was happy to receive an email telling me the
         news. His book finally found publication. Frieder’s new book
         is  everything  one  could  want  about the  bridges  of  NYC,
         including  his  stunning  black  and  white  photography. The
         city’s bridges form such a vital part of the place’s landscape.
         Many people can hardly separate them from this metropoli-
         tan area that could also not function without them.
           In the crush of movement and activity defining the Big Ap-
         ple, few people ever take the time to gaze up from cell phone
         texting to appreciate the intricate work done by armies of
         workers,  planners,  architects,  engineers,  visionaries,  and
         even politicians in the creation of this world they find them-
         selves in the midst of.                              Brooklyn Bridge: Brooklyn Tower Main Cables and Suspenders, 1996.
           Dave Frieder has taken the time to gaze — and to climb
         and  photograph the  city’s  many bridges.  I  have  contacted   have photographed  — and climbed some 20 Bridges,” says
         Dave over the past decade whenever I needed inside — and   Frieder. “And perhaps many people do not realize that there
         outside  — information on  the construction  and history  of   are actually 2,077 bridges in New York City.
         such structures as the Brooklyn Bridge, George Washington   “I only did the major bridges. All of those 20 bridges just
         Bridge or Verrazzano Narrows Bridge.                 mentioned are in the book. I did not do the old Kosciusko
           Frieder has always generously shared his time and exper-  bridge or the Alexander Hamilton. I actually never liked
         tise as well as his passion whenever I’ve called him. For years   either of those two structures. However, I do like the new
         he has told me as well of a project near and dear to him, a book   Kosciusko Bridge but it was not completed when my book
         showcasing his work and that of those who completed work on   was ready for print. Maybe I’ll get some images of that span
         these historic monumental artifacts from another age.  if and when I do a second printing – if that ever happens.”
           When pressed for clarification on which bridges were be-  Dave Frieder has a passion for each of the bridges included
         ing discussed, Dave does not hesitate to clear things up. “I   in his new coffee table book. His stunning photos harken back
                                                              to the work of Ansel Adams, with black and white used as a
                                                              medium creating life through shadow and brightness and ev-
                                                              erything in between which almost makes color beside the point.
                                                               Frieder places the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on the cover. But
                                                              unlike countless other images of the world-famous suspen-
                                                              sion bridge, his photo showcases just one tower, the Brooklyn
                                                              Tower — the Manhattan skyline in the distance almost looks
                                                              diminished enough as to be from an earlier century. To the
                                                              left the lovely arch of stonework stands unhindered, an open
                                                              gate. But on the right archway is hemmed in by a spider’s web
                                                              of suspenders, wire ropes, and the huge main cable.
                                                               Washington Roebling, Chief Engineer on the project would
                                                              happily recognize a different angle on the tower whose sub-
                                                              marine  construction  nearly  ended his  life.  A descendent,
                                                              great, great grandson of Washington and Emily Roebling,
                                                              does get to opine on Frieder’s work.
                                                               “Without his fearlessness at great heights, coupled with his
                                                              visionary command of the photographic medium, we would
                                                              never have these amazing images to reintroduce us to the
                                                              majesty of structures that are otherwise prone to the stultifi-
                                                              cation of visual cliché,” says Kriss Roebling. “I am grateful to
                                                              Dave for leveling his artistic eye on my ancestors’ crowning
                                                              achievement from the vantage points that no average photog-
         Manhattan Bridge: View of Lower Manhattan Skyline from Top of   rapher would have the vision, or the courage to pursue.
         Sphere, Brooklyn Tower, 1997. All photographs copyright © Dave Frieder  “His daredevil capacity to capture the uncaptured image
         70     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   December 2019
   65   66   67   68   69   70   71   72   73   74   75