Photoessay: interpretations of a bridge

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How many ways can a famous subject be represented and not made repetitive or boring? I’ve got two theories on this, and honestly, they’re in conflict. Firstly, since no scene, object or location is static – think changes in light, construction and/or decay and the like – then it is actually highly unlikely history repeats. But at a casual glance, near enough is reason for dismissal. On the other hand, if enough people photograph the same object under every possible condition, then chances are ‘near enough’ is going to be met fairly quickly. Every photographer travels in hope of finding something unique; the more photographed a location – in this case the Ponte Luis I in Porto – the higher the expectations and the higher the bar of differentiation – even if the light is suboptimal, we can’t help ourselves. MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50c, 50mm and 100mm lenses. Postprocessing follows Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III and The Weekly Workflow.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Once again Ming you have taken a relatively mundane object and created some great images.

  2. Robert E Good says:

    I love this series of photographs. You may have helped liberate me from the “postcard bridge shot” and, l by extension, other cliche shots as well. Portland Oregon USA has a lot of bridges which I can look at with fresh eyes thanks to your work.

  3. The second photo showing the new bridge with the older structures I love.

  4. Maria Sacadura says:

    Love all of your shots!

  5. My, what an ugly structure, so at odds with its surroundings.

    • Period correct, though.

    • Coisas EM'adeira says:

      Mr Ming Thein.
      These photographs have a very special place in my heart. I like them a Lot.
      If I may I’ll add some background info. Please fell free to delete this if is improper comment.

      This bridge is from XIX century and design by François Gustave Théophile Seyrig a man who worked with Gustave Eiffeil.
      This bridge “Luis I” and one other near by “D. Maria Pia” (a rail road bridge very similar to this one) – and at the time was the biggest arch made out of iron. In 1990 was classified by American Society of Engineering (ASCE) as a Internacional Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
      The boats on 2nd picture are handmade and still today carry the ‘O’Porto wine’ barrels from the vineyards -up in the river- to the cellars.

      • Thanks for the background info!

      • Coisas, I wonder if the incongruity I see is down to the drab grey colour? Thanks for the history of the bridge. I didn’t originally enquire about them, but I was far more interested in the boats and it is indeed useful to have your comment on them. To me, these would have been a big draw to photograph; a shot of the bridge, yes, but only because it was there, but with the boats I’d have gone into overdrive. :D)

        • Coisas EM'adeira says:

          I believe that ‘grey’ was the original painting. And I also believe the bridge was painted “recently”. The structure must be painted like the Eiffel tower every few years.

  6. I love the Golden Hour shots. The location, which I would love to see, seems to present a visual overload. What the heck would a tourist-photographer do with only limited time at this spot? Send one’s spouse to a cafe, I imagine.

    • Thanks – I suppose one could find a photo-friendly spouse, or perhaps pack them off to a winery tasting tour…

    • I too adore the light that these photographs so adroitly capture and communicate.

      I take photographs primarily to please myself, so I am in no way disinclined to take a photograph of a well known scene. It may be entirely new for me, and that is what counts the most. That said, I will always look for other compositions, lighting, or human interactions etc. that would introduce novelty into the image.

      🙂 … MomentsForZen (Richard)

  7. ha you just gave me inspiration for bridge shot I took in Vancouver earlier in August! thanks 🙂

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