This iconic bridge built in 1932 and considered a monument in Los Angeles is no longer part of the L.A. landscape. The steel arches and concrete have been suffering “the test of time” and therefore the viaduct has been demolished.
The bridge was featured in countless films, television shows, music videos, and commercials. Both professional fashion photographers and underground camera enthusiasts also chose the Sixth Street Bridge as the backdrop for their projects. And believe it or not, the bridge was used as a playground for people who climbed the arches, often just for fun.
The chief engineer during the construction of the Sixth Street Viaduct was Merrill Butler who, according to an article written by James Ricci for the LA Times in October 2000, graduated from the old Los Angeles Polytechnic High School in downtown. He never went to college but learned civil engineering via correspondence courses. What an example for future generations!
The article also states that the day Mr. Butler turned 70 and was required to retire, he made a point of putting in a full workday. When he died two years later, The LA Times neglected to run an obituary on him, even though 700 people attended his funeral.
The sixth installment of the TimeLAX video series has been dedicated to this bridge as a visual historical document. It took me only six days to shoot the viaduct from different angles.
Everything went smoothly except that the first time I shot from the river I wasn’t prepared for the strong odor of the water. The following night I went back with a respirator mask. Also, one of the nights involved a massive gathering of car enthusiasts under the bridge organized by Magnus Walker.
I only wanted to use wide-angle and fish-eye lenses for the images but I ended up using a zoom lens for a couple of photo sequences. Everything was shot in color but the video was processed in B&W using the amazing technology now available that allows us to emulate old film stock looks.