The Bridge Builders: Photos by Joseph A. Blum


Credit: Joseph A. Blum

Credit: Joseph A. Blum

The Bridge Builders: Photos by Joseph A. Blum. Artist Reception July 11, 2013. Exhibit through September 27, 2013. San Francisco.

Regular readers of this blog know I have a tendency to procrastinate. Nothing is too big –  like doing my taxes–  or too small  – like dumping a week’s worth of accumulated junk mail – to escape my skilled art of procrastination.

However, a few months ago, in a rare instance of advanced planning, I signed up for the Labor Day celebratory walk across the new Bay Bridge. Several friends decided this once-in-a-lifetime walk was not to be missed and nudged me into signing up so we could walk together. I complied.

Although pedestrians have never been allowed to walk across the Bridge, for the record, I have had my feet on the Bridge’s pavement….the time I ran out of gas mid-span.
No comment please.

That Labor Day walk I signed up for far in advance is not happening. We have heard the drumbeat for months but now it is official - the Bay Bridge will not be finished on time. As you may recall, in March construction crews discovered that 32 of the steel fasteners had cracked. Ugh. The weakened bolts need to be repaired which is easy to say but not so easy to do.

Cal Trans now predicts the Bridge will open mid-December. My disappointment has not diminished my interest and excitement about the new Bridge. I love the aesthetics, and I love the iconic light sculpture by Leo Villareal.  I know when it is finally completed I will love walking across it, in the winter rain, and high winds.

Today’s timely deal will provide arresting views of the new Bay Bridge albeit without  that once in a lifetime feet-on-the-pavement experience.


The San Francisco Arts Commission (“SFAC”) Galleries presents “The Bridge Builders.” This dazzling photography exhibit features 85 of Joseph Blum’s large-format color photographs depicting the history and construction of the new Bay Bridge.


The Bridge Builders – Photography Exhibit by Joseph A. Blum
San Francisco City Hall, ground floor
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 11, 5:30 to 7:30pm.
Ongoing exhibition through September 27, 2013. Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

FREE and open to the public.


Joseph Blum has photographed the construction of the new Bridge since its inception in 1988. His arresting images of the workers, their tools, and the raw materials reflect the human spirit embodied in this engineering feat.

Blum’s 25 years of experience as a boilermaker, shipfitter, and welder, are evident in his focus on the laborers. The result is stunning and thought-provoking. Blum states, “There would not be a bridge without the men and women who are building it. They are the ones who have transformed the ideas of the bridge designers, architects and engineers from blueprints and drawings into a living structure of steel and concrete.”

At some point the Bridge will be completed. In the meantime don’t procrastinate – see this amazing exhibit.

Bonus:  All of the photographs are available for purchase. For more information, contact the artist at

Tip: Blum’s black-and-white photographs will be on display at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in San Francisco starting August 3.

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