(OAKLAND, CA) May 8, 2013, Updated July 15, 2013—This July, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) premieres Peter Stackpole: Bridging the Bay, an exhibition of photographs from 1934 to ‘36 showcasing the original construction of the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. On view in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art from July 20, 2013 through January 26, 2014, the exhibition is the third in an ongoing series exploring California topics through photography. Organized by Curator of Photography & Visual Culture Drew Johnson, the exhibition complements OMCA’s major exhibition Above and Below: Stories From Our Changing Bay highlighting quirky and revealing stories of the ways in which people and natural forces shaped and reshaped the San Francisco Bay Area over time.
Featuring 23 black-and-white photographs from the OMCA collection, Bridging the Bay focuses on the early work of American photographer Peter Stackpole, and includes quotes from the late artist that illuminate the moments and people captured on his film. The selection includes awe-inducing vantage points from the tops of catwalks, beautiful shots that render the bridge’s components in abstraction, and humanizing portraits of the construction workers, who faced great personal risk on a daily basis. As a young photographer in his 20s, Stackpole’s technical expertise and experimentation with the 35 millimeter hand-held camera allowed him access to the construction of the two bridges that no other photographer at the time had.