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American Photography: Peter Stackpole

December 29, 2011

In 1933 construction began on a bridge that would span from San Francisco to Marin County over the Golden Gate.  The project would last nearly five years, cost thirty-five million dollars and take eleven lives.  The result was the world’s longest suspension bridge.  Throughout construction, Peter Stackpole captured the progress through the lens of his camera collecting some of the first images of what would become one of the most photographed pieces of architecture in the world.  It was here; Stackpole cut his teeth and made his name as a photographer.


Following his work on the Golden Gate Bridge, Stackpole went on to become one of the original staff photographers for Life magazine.  He would hold tenure at Life for the next 24 years and make the cover 26 times, photographing more of America’s great bridges, landscapes, military and celebrities.  Many of his images are arguably some of the most recognizable photographs from the 20th century and strike a chord with just about anyone.  He also worked with Time, Fortune, Vanity Fair, and covered WWII from the South Pacific.

Check out more of Peter Stackpole’s images in the Life Archives here.

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