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Maker(s):Bridges, Marilyn
Culture:American (1948 - )
Title:Chan Chan
Date Made:1989
Materials:gelatin silver print
Place Made:Peru; Chan Chan
Measurements:sheet: 15 7/8 in x 20 in; 40.3225 cm x 50.8 cm; image: 14 1/2 in x 18 7/8 in; 36.83 cm x 47.9425 cm
Narrative Inscription:  title, copyright, signature and date in pencil on verso: Chan Chan / (c) Marilyn Bridges 1989
Accession Number:  SC 2009.49.14
Credit Line:Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

aerial view of sandy area with low dirk mounds and rectangles of ruined buildings

Label Text:
American photographer Marilyn Bridges took this aerial photograph of Chan Chan in 1989. Born in 1949, Bridges is known for her signature black and white aerial photographs of culturally significant landscapes all over the world. Bridges’ works are filled with artistic sensibility and can be used to convey the physical grandeur, aesthetic perfection, and timelessness of the sites. She likes to shoot at a super low altitude—she even learned to fly and became a pilot in order to find the ideal viewpoint. The contrast of light and dark in her photographs is astonishing: the long and thick shadows are the most striking features of her works, which result from her sharp observation and her sensitivity to the change of color. Though aerial photographs are usually believed to have the value of documenting history, her photographs should be regarded as artistic creation rather than historical documentation. In fact, because of the high artistic value of Bridges’ aerial photographs, they are widely used to catalyze tourism in Peru. Ling Qiu, Smith College, Class of 2015, ARH 292: Collecting the Past: Art and Artifacts of the Ancient Americas. Additional writing on this object can be found at
Paper + People the Cunningham Center Blog.

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