Zaragoza à Pamplona y Barcelona—Puente de Zuera

José Martinez Sánchez Spanish
Juan Laurent French

Not on view

Two figures face off across a span of shadow and steel: One is visible in the distance, a diminutive blur opposite the bridge. The other, unseen behind his camera, made this photograph. The work has been alternately credited to the celebrated Laurent and his Madrid studio partner, Saìnchez. Hired by the state to document Spain’s expanding public infrastructure, the men split up to meet their deadline. Saìnchez’s assignment places him closer to this remote bridge near Zaragoza, but some records locate Laurent along the same railway, introducing a slim chance that the partners intersected there. Their finished project reveals an industrial imperative to shrink space and accelerate time; whoever photographed this bridge grasped its transformational potential, framing the engineering feat as a threshold to modernity.

Zaragoza à Pamplona y Barcelona—Puente de Zuera, José Martinez Sánchez (Spanish, 1808–1874), Albumen silver print from glass negative

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