Again, The Golden Gate Bridge

Photography

I have written about my experience walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in March. It wasn’t a pleasant one. When I came home and after I wrote my blog post about it I found myself wanting to watch The Bridge again. I don’t know why. This bridge has been haunting me.

What I did not tell you about that day was that I was also shooting photos on a roll of film that I would send overseas to Brendan for another round of his International Film Swap project.

The photos from the bridge are as haunting as the bridge itself. Kind of spooky, actually. Here, have a look:

Mother Mary watches over the Golden Gate

Mother Mary watches over the Golden Gate

Honestly. Does this need any explanation? It gives me chills.

Resting place

Final Resting Place

I showed this to Raf and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Final resting place.”

Bridge or mortuary?

Bridge or mortuary?

When I shot this sign I thought it was kind of funny and rebellious. If you look closely you will see that right under the word “Bridge” is the word “Mortuary” (from Brendan’s double exposure). Indeed, the place feels very haunted to me. Lots of very sad souls there.

There are more really cool photos from the swap that are less morbid and I will share them in another post. Stay tuned!

My exposures are from SF (obvs) and Brendan’s exposures are in Dublin.

The Bridge

Life

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I have been writing this blog post in my head for two years. It started when I watched the documentary, The Bridge. I heard about the film a few years ago on This American Life and was intrigued by it, as grisly as that might sound. I wanted to see it but was also hesitant for very obvious reasons. A couple of years ago I found myself alone for a few hours with nothing to do so I rented it from iTunes and watched it. It really affected me on a very deep, profound level. I cried and cried while I watched it. I was still going through the grieving process after watching my stepdad die, so there was that element (going face to face with Death itself) as to why it affected me so much. But, also, suicide has played a role in my life in different ways. I think that is why I felt the need to watch this film. I needed to face this “demon” and watching the film was one way of doing that.

I went to the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday and walked the 3 miles across and back. It was a weird experience. It was unexpectedly weird. I went there with every intention of having a really good time and shooting some great photos. But it ended up being a completely different experience. I started walking across the bridge and I instantly thought of those people from the film. And all of the other people from other years who came here to end their lives. More than 1200. One person every two weeks. One person every two weeks has died by jumping off of this bridge. When you enter the bridge you are greeted with a phone and a sign that says, “There is hope. Make the Call. The consequences of jumping off of this bridge are fatal and tragic.”  The railing is low. Anyone can climb up onto it. There is nothing to prevent someone from climbing up on it. I stood there and looked out over the railing and realized this was the last thing they saw. I walked along and my heart sank. I couldn’t help but wonder about the horrible pain these 1200+ people felt before they ended it. I could almost feel their pain. How could a person not feel the pain of 1200+ people who have died here? It was palpable  It was almost a living presence.

It was difficult. It was the longest three miles I have ever walked.