Marilyn Bridges, Tom Loves Mary, Coral Graffiti, Hawaii, 1990

Marilyn Bridges (1948 – ), Tom Loves Mary, Coral Graffiti, Hawaii, 1990, gelatin silver print. Middlebury College Museum of Art. Gift of an anonymous donor. 2014.065. Copyright Marilyn Bridges, 2017. All rights reserved.

Marilyn Bridges is an American photographer and pilot renowned for her black and white aerial photographs taken from a low flying small engine plane. From the air, Bridges provides new perspectives on landscapes, from ancient serpent mounds to rural farms, frequently focusing on human-made marks and constructions. Bridges observes, “I wish to show the subtle symbols that man creates unintentionally in the environment. Through the markings and objects he leaves on the landscape, he reveals his relationship with the earth.”1

Photography critic, Vicki Goldberg, has emphasized the environmental message of Bridges’ work: “From the vantage point of an angel, the earth must always be beautiful. From Marilyn Bridges’ single-engine Cessna, hovering low at the approximate altitude of an angel with wing trouble, the earth tends to be dark, ambiguous, laced with a mournful poetry.” Goldberg adds, “Bridges is a product of our time, which is awed by the planet seen from the moon, distressed by the view from the car window, and in need of an accommodation with an environment that will never be innocent again….The landscape she surveys from an open cargo door is steeped in memories of greatness and besieged by modern times.”2