Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#18 - The Bridges of Madison County, Part 1

I don't think obsessions have reasons, that's why they're obsessions. - Clint Eastwood as Robert Kincaid in The Bridges of Madison County

96 degrees, 90 percent humidity, blazing sunshine, light winds -- a classic summer afternoon in rural Iowa. Hardly ideal conditions for cruising the cornfield-covered countryside in a pick-up truck without air conditioning, but then I was fulfilling a dream (an obsession really) to find and photograph something very special: The Bridges of Madison County.

Popularized by the Robert James Waller novel and the 1995 movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County still exist - mostly in their original locations - near Winterset, Iowa. 19 covered bridges were built in Madison County in the late 19th century, but only 6 remain today. They were originally covered to help protect the large flooring timbers of the deck which were much more expensive to replace than the lumber used for the sides and roof. All of these bridges are aesthetically appealing, architecturally sound, and historically accurate, but that's not why they're meaningful to me.

In the story, when National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Eastwood) stops at Francesca Johnson's (Streep) farmhouse to ask for directions to the Roseman Bridge, little did they know that simple wooden structure linking roads would eventually link their hearts too. It's where they spent their first afternoon, where Francesca left the note inviting Robert to dinner, and in the end, it was the only place where they could finally be together. Clearly the Roseman was a metaphor for their love, and being a lover of the story, clearly it was the best spot to begin my photo essay project. Something surprising happened along the way, but more on that later . . . to be continued.

Note: This post marks the first installment of my annual Summer Photo Project, an essay or layout taken during my summer vacation of a person, place, or thing that had some significance in my life. Here's to my favorite season, here's to an endless summer . . .