a new suspension bridge is being built at the main entrance to jerusalem, at the meeting point of jaffa road, yermiyahu street and hertzel boulevard. it’s not planned to be just a bridge – it will be a monument. internationally acclaimed spanish architect santiago calatrava was commissioned to design an artistic and practical solution for the new urban train scheduled to run above this busy intersection. the bridge is designed to be supported by an inclined central column, 130 meters high, with 150 meter long, white, suspension cables supporting a 380 meter long semi-circle on which the train will travel. jerusalem will join valencia, seville, lisbon, lyon and other cities in the world proudly displaying calatrava’s monumental designs.
making all this possible are hundreds of workers already busy for over a year. their’s is the major effort in realizing the dream. their sweat dampens the concrete slabs making them harder and more supportive of the future train to pass. the question is, when the calatrava bridge, or the jerusalem suspension bridge, or whatever it will be named, is finally erected, when residents of jerusalem commute to work on the new urban train, when pedestrians walk across to gain a new perspective of jerusalem, will anyone remember the people under the bridge?
this page will be an ongoing project honoring ‘the people under the bridge’.
nisan – construction worker. 15 years building bridges.
March 12, 2007
the bridge will be suspended in air by 150 meter long cables. but, until the cables are taut, the yellow structures will serve as temporary support pillars.
shot from the roof of a nearby 8 story residential building
a huge crane operator awaits his mission, to position pieces of the bridge atop the yellow pillars. this will probably be done during the night when it is possible to close off this busy intersection at the city’s main entrance. i hope i get a notice of this stage in advance – it really should be interesting to shoot!
engineers thoroughly examine electrical grounding. the new urban train will be electrically powered
but they also have time for a laugh
March 26, 2007
‘the people under the bridge’ is stuck. for about four weeks i have been desperately trying to get clearance to shoot from within the construction site, to get closer to the workers, to speak to them, to learn their names. that’s the only way a serious documentary project can work. it’s the only way i can work. but it’s amazing how everyone involved is giving me the run around; speak to him, call again tomorrow, i’m not responsible, and so on. my current obstacle is the moriah company for the development of jerusalem. apparently they are responsible for the whole project. having conducted about a dozen conversations with their pr people progress is still evading me. differences of opinion are mostly commercial – they want me to promise them a percentage of any hypothetical future income generated from the project. no way!
so, in the mean time my shots are taken from the perimeter – public land.
April 12, 2007
the moriah company for the development of jerusalem have finally moved their ass but i think that’s where they do their thinking! after about 2 months they’ve finally prepared a document they want me to sign. i asked for a copy by email. “no! you have to come here personally to sign it“. i just want a copy to read and check out. “no! you can’t have a copy. i can read it to you over the phone“. idiots or what?
in short what the letter says is they will not object to my photography of the bridge project if i sign over to them all distribution and commercial rights of the photos. their generosity is expressed in their agreement to allow me to keep a copy of photos for personal use only. idiots or what?
they could have chosen to cooperate with my request with absolutely zero investment, allowing me to work for free, for months, and eventually enjoying excellent public relations in whatever distribution channels i would choose. cooperation at this stage could have led to cooperation in choosing those distribution channels, or deciding how to eventually present the project for our mutual benefit. all they need to do is allow me access. what have they got to loose? idiots or what?!
can you tell i’m pissed at them?
so the people under the bridge is now like a bridge over troubled waters. i’m going to go on trying without their cooperation. we’ll see how it goes.
the last 24 hours have been dramatic. one of eight pieces of the bridge has been suspended in air, held up by a huge crane, in preparation for laying it across the street on temporary support columns. this piece of steel is said to weigh over 350 tons!
the crane will move forward on tracks visible in the next shot.
at 12 midnight police closed off the area for a short ceremony prior to the deployment of the first piece of the bridge. guest of honor was prime minister ehud olmert (therefore tight security arrangements).
last minute preparations
contact! just a few minutes before 02:00
may 18, 2007
lights! – coinciding with celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the unification of jerusalem, the calatrava suspension bridge was light up last night simulating the cables that will eventually hold it up.
lights were supposed to be light the night before yesterday but it was postponed due to the freak rain storm. perhaps a sign?
then it turned out some of the lights weren’t working and some of the light-cables tore. a team of electricians was ready to handle that situation.
i hope nothing like this happens with the real suspension cables in just a few months.
camera! – this image is here for demonstrating canon’s image stabilizing lens. shot at ISO800, handheld at f/4, 1/13 seconds, with canon’s ef 24-105mm f/4L IS usm at 24mm.
1/13 seconds handheld! i love this lens!
action! – the worst was still to come. when i named this project the people under the bridge i never thought i would be dealing with traffic accident casualties. just moments after the lights went on, a passing driver must have been so overwhelmed with the lights he didn’t pay attention to the road.
the bridge isn’t even operational yet and its already claim a first victim.
his injuries didn’t seem to serious and i hope he is the last.
July 24, 2007
erection of the main suspension support column has begun.
once again with canon’s ef 24-105mm f/4L IS usm – look at those blue skies!
january 15, 2008
the last section of the supporting mast was raised and reinforced yesterday. this section, although looking small in the following shots, is 30 meters long.
march 28th, 2008
the ugly duckling is slowly transforming into a swan
abstract geometric shapes and gorgeous curves are beginning to transform the calatrava bridge from a construction site into a beautiful work of art.
the bridge is supposed to be finished by the end of may. just a few months off an apparent design flaw was discovered – the bridge will not be able to support it’s weight as well as that of the train. confirmed by an independent british engineering company, this flaw will require extra structural support and several more millions of isareli shekels. a law suit against architect santiago calatrava is being considered.
June 26, 2008
we’re pretty good at ceremonies. the bridge isn’t done yet but why not inaugurate it?
composite, june 2008
December 25, 2008