Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904–1971)
Gelatin silver print
13 x 10 1/2 in. (33.1 x 26.6 cm)
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987 (1987.1100.25)
© Getty Images
This photograph became an icon of the machine age, not only because it was printed as the cover of the first issue of Life magazine (November 23, 1936), but also because it showed the power of modern technology to dwarf humankind. The giant buttresses and what seem to be crenellated battlements (actually the supports for an elevated highway) are meant to be as raw and impressive as the towering walls of ancient monuments. The engineers on the spillway provide the necessary indication of scale.