John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A photographer investigates the massive, mysterious underbellies of Han River overpasses.
Unless you’re a troll, odds are you don’t spend a lot of time under bridges. Photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro has, though, and his documentation of these obscures spaces is full of industrial beauty and glimpses into the infinite.
Alvarez Diestro, who hails from London, got the inspiration to peer under the bridges while spending the past six months in South Korea’s capital. “One of the most iconic locations in Seoul is the Han River,” he says. “While riding my bike along the river, I could not resist the idea of conducting a work about the 27 bridges that connect Seoul’s north and south.”
The artist decided to shoot from below to highlight the gargantuan underpinnings of the bridges, rife with geometric allure, as well as to give the spans an alien quality. He explains via email:
I was fascinated with the monumentality and massiveness of the supporting structures through pillars and beams and the receding perspective that they generate. Each bridge has its distinctive design qualities which create different vistas.
The grandiosity of the supporting structures in the river and the spaces they create also generate a mysterious quality that inspired me to conduct the work, as we no longer see their main function, which is to connect people across the metropolis.
Enjoy a selection of photos from the series: