Bridges | Journey, Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah

Marilyn Bridges (American, b. 1948)
Journey, Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah, 1983 (1983)
Gelatin silver print, 12 x 16”
Museum Purchase, 2002.23

For the book This Land Is Your Land, Bridges took photographs across the U.S. by air. Of the West, she writes, “Often when I fly over the American West the boundless beauty of the landscape overwhelms me completely. Below me I sense the rugged and much-weathered features of a wise and resolute old god. Eternity seems to stretch before my eyes. And yet I am often reminded—when the remains of clear cutting and mining scar the earth—that it is here in the West that the front line of the epic struggle between man and Nature is being fought. Unchecked development not only threatens the sanctity of Nature, it threatens to evoke a disastrous response.” 

Modern but not Urban

The so-called “sands of time,” an allusion to the hourglass, can be stopped when turned to stone, in this case sandstone. Here, in Monument Valley, there is no large city because water is in short supply and space is in excess. But we can see a road, actually two of them, crossing a valley so dry that the river that created it is long gone. Much of earth is too hostile for human settlement, except when we bring ingenuity to mind.