Photographs of the Bethlehem Steel Plant, 1989-1996
Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press
Aware of the decline and imminent demise of many integrated steel mills in the United States and fascinated by their monumental architecture, machinery, and the culture of work, Joseph Elliott photographed the mills in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, from 1989 until final shutdown. Working with historian Lance Metz, he amassed more than 1,000 large format photographs and hundreds of archival images and documents, in an effort to preserve a record of the development, workings, and human dimensions of an integrated steel plant typical of machine age America.
A steel mill is a visually thrilling place, and Elliott’s meticulously designed photographs embody much more than a technical record. The scale, architecture, and material qualities of the site are compelling referents for an audience of the post-industrialage. An essay by art historian Betsy Fahlman situates Elliott’s work in the context of the industrial sublime. This book will appeal all who are fascinated with industrial art and archaeology, and will be an inspiration for the preservation and re-use of these relic structures.
Photographing The Steel
Joseph E. B. Elliott
The Significance of Bethlehem Steel
Lance E. Metz
Notes on the Plates
About the Photographer and the Essayists