a bridge with a bridge in the background
Photographs ©1983 by Brian Cohen.

100 Years of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Sunday Morning Photograph.

Bridging the gap with photography.

You probably read the title to this article and thought “100 Years of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York? Didn’t Brian just publish this article a couple of days ago about the Brooklyn Bridge celebrating 141 years?!?”

100 Years of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Sunday Morning Photograph.

Photograph ©1983 by Brian Cohen.

The answer is: yes, I did. However, I recently found a contact print of negatives from photographs I took of the Brooklyn Bridge on the morning of Tuesday, May 24, 1983. This Sunday Morning Photograph article is unusual in that it is more about nostalgia and sentimentality rather that the quality of the photography itself.

I was an assistant for my cousin, who was a professional photographer. After we finished working late into that Monday evening, I drove to the East River Drive — which is also known as FDR Drive — in Manhattan. The highway is normally busy at almost all hours of the day and night — but it was closed for the upcoming festivities to celebrate the anniversary of 100 years since the Brooklyn Bridge was opened to the public…

…so I parked my car right on the highway itself — which is typically impossible to do at any time of the day — and I set up my tripod on the asphalt. I forgot which of the northbound lanes I was in, as I was excited to be one of the first people — if not the first person — to shoot photographs of the Brooklyn Bridge in the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 24, 1983. I stayed on the empty highway and photographed the bridge through the night until after dawn. The shoot involved a practice called bracketing in which I photographed the bridge multiple times with different settings in an attempt to get the best picture possible.

The film I used to shoot the photographs was Kodak Safety Film 5063, which was branded as Kodak Tri-X. I chose that film because its International Organization for Standardization speed rating — or ISO — was 400, which was more sensitive to light for photographs that were taken at night. Furthermore, the film was black and white and not color so that I could both process the film and develop the photographs myself in a darkroom. Black and white photography was easier to develop than color at that time.

Photograph ©1983 by Brian Cohen.

On Kodak photographic paper, I created a contact sheet — which is simply exposing the negatives on photographic paper that is sensitive to light. Although I created a contact sheet, I cannot find any actual prints of my photographs.

I attempted to scan the contact sheet at 1,200 dots per inch — which is the highest resolution possible on the machine that was used…

a bridge with cars on the road
Photograph ©1983 by Brian Cohen.

…but enlarging any of the photographs was simply too pixel-y and blocky. Yeesh. You’d think these photographs were taken on opening day in 1883 with a bad pinhole camera instead of 1983.

a bridge with lights on it
Photograph ©1983 by Brian Cohen.

Final Boarding Call

Perhaps when — or if — I find the original negatives, I will reproduce the photographs themselves and enlarge them digitally.

The purpose of the weekly series of Sunday Morning Photograph articles is to feature photographs from my travels around the world which you can view while enjoying your morning coffee.

Please click here for a complete list of the Sunday Morning Photograph series of articles at The Gate With Brian Cohen, which include photographs taken of nature and sights of interest in many countries and territories around the world — including but not limited to:

Andorra • Argentina • Australia • Austria • Bahamas • Bahrain • Belgium • Belarus • Botswana • Brazil • Bulgaria • Canada • China • Chile • Colombia • Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast • Cyprus — including the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus • Czechia or Czech Republic • Denmark • Dominican Republic • Egypt • England in Great Britain in the United Kingdom • Estonia • Finland • France • Germany • Hungary • Iceland • Ireland • Italy • Kenya • Latvia • Lebanon • Lesotho • Liechtenstein • Lithuania • Luxembourg • Malaysia • Morocco • Mozambique • Netherlands • New Zealand • Oman • Panama • Philippines • Poland • Portugal • Romania • Singapore • Slovenia • South Africa • South Korea • Spain • Swaziland or Eswatini • Sweden • Switzerland • Thailand • United Arab Emirates • United States of America • Uruguay

All photographs ©1983 by Brian Cohen.

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