Continuing the History of Things series, this is a close up of a girder under a bridge. It was quite high up, and I needed to get my telephoto lens out to get the shot. But this little out-of-sight piece of metal has so much history, so many stories. The bridge is hardly new, though I don’t know for certain how old it is – 50 years? 60? More? And perhaps it has been painted several times since that nut was tightened onto the bolt. The logo itself, of course, tells us a story – of where the steel was formed into the shape it now takes. But what struck me was the clarity of the brush strokes. Like reading a footprint, so many motions are preserved. At some point, a person stood on a ladder, or on scaffolding – or perhaps suspended by ropes – and made each motion with a brush in their hand. That person had a family, and a home, and lived (perhaps still lives) a whole life. These brush strokes are my only knowledge of that life.
I think that’s the big appeal of this History of Things I’m trying to document – it helps provide a sense of perspective, that each tiny thing in the world is interconnected with everything else. Certainly it appeals to the palaeontologist in me, where a fossilized bone or footprint may be all that remains of whole ecosystems spanning millions of years.