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Picturing the Bay Bridge 

Wednesday, Jul 24 2013

For LIFE magazine from 1936 to 1960, Bay Area photographer Peter Stackpole did everything from profiling Hollywood celebrities to going abroad and capturing the drama of wartime. The winner of a George Polk Award, he was one of the magazine's original four photographers (along with Margaret Bourke-White, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and Thomas McAvoy), and his prodigious output included photographing the 1930s' construction of the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. In "Peter Stackpole: Bridging the Bay," the Oakland Museum of California brings Stackpole's photography back to life, to coincide with the building of the Bay Bridge's new east span. During the bridge's original development, Stackpole ascended the burgeoning towers alongside construction workers, taking images that are every bit as dramatic as the 1932 New York photo, Lunch atop a Skycraper, that set the standard for imagery of high-rise construction. Stackpole went low, too, getting street-level and water-level views of the Bay Bridge in progress. Seventy years later, the detail and depth in Stackpole's photos still resonate, still make you think about the drama and risk that goes into building great spans that take humans where they didn't go before.

Aug. 4-Jan. 26, 2013

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Jonathan Curiel

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