Begun in 1997, the project is yet another chapter in Misrach’s ever-growing thesis on the fundamental changes which humanity exacts on nature. Although a seemingly immutable structure, Misrach demonstrates how looking upon the Golden Gate Bridge is a constantly changing experience, resonant with the erratic complexity of the natural world. Each photograph evidences how light and weather alter one’s view. This fact is further highlighted by the consistent perspective Misrach takes in composing each shot. It is not the act of photographing which embellishes the day-to-day changes of this landscape, rather it is something beyond the control of the camera. Misrach takes the position of its steady transcriber.
Golden Gate is tangent to Misrach’s earlier bodies of work, varying from depictions of cloudscapes to his celebrated photographs of the desert. As Misrach says of his larger photographic project:
My theory is that if I take great care to get the lighting, detail and composition just perfect, people will look at my images longer. The longer they look at them, the more likely they are to understand and to effect change. I am convinced beauty is an effective strategy to get someone’s attention. (Oakland Tribune, 3 October 1998)
Long considered one of the most significant and influential photographers working in color, Misrach’s work continues to embody his uncommon sensitivity to materials, light and atmosphere. His use of the cumbersome 8 x 10 inch view-camera fills the photographic print with dense and rewarding detail. Misrach has received numerous fellowships and awards, including three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Met with great acclaim, a recent exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art entitled Crimes and Splendors; the Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach chronicled much of his work to-date.