(September, 2004)

The World Wide Panorama

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During the week of the Equinox (September 22 for most parts of the world) photographers everywhere participated in another World Wide Panorama event. The theme for this event was Bridges.

Theme Essay: Bridges

The essay conveys the team’s idea of the event. It is usually published together with the Theme announcement and offers a starting point for the contributing photographers.

About the Theme - Bridges 

Every place on earth has bridges, from heroic suspension spans to graceful arches over the canals of Venice. There are scary swinging bridges, busy bridges over urban rivers, high arched bridges in Japanese gardens, picturesque covered bridges in the countryside, bridges that open for shipping, floating bridges, Roman bridges still in use, ancient bridges in China. 

Bridges are interesting, in their engineering, their materials, their setting, their history. They are important, providing vital access across rivers and to islands. Some carry huge volumes of traffic, others cross international boundaries. Bridges can be short but complicated, the soaring loops of a freeway interchange, or immensely long like the causeway connecting the Florida Keys. Some cross deep narrow gorges in the mountains, others span turbulent tidal channels. They can be symbolic, like a Chinese nine-turn bridge, or strictly utilitarian, like the ubiquitous Bailey bridges. 

Bridges can be beautiful, in and of themselves. From the classic spans of ancient times, to the bravado of the industrial revolution, to dramatic new shapes by Santiago Calatrava. Bridges sometimes provide the grace-note to a dramatic scene, the focal point of a landscape. Bridges over lakes and streams in gardens and parks are often works of art, carefully designed for visual effect as well as utility. 

Many bridges are famous: the Golden Gate Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, London Bridge (in Arizona) and Tower Bridge (still in London), the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Sydney Harbor Bridge, the Eads Bridge over the Mississippi, the new bridges over the Inland Sea in Japan, the Tagus River Bridge in Lisbon, the Firth of Forth bridges in Scotland. 

Taken metaphorically, bridges can be anything that helps us to progress from one place to another, spanning barriers and obstacles. There are social and cultural bridges, economic and business bridges, emotional and psychological bridges. 

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