"Aside from their documentary value, the photographs are beautiful in themselves, taken with an artist's eye for the shapes and patterns formed by the [Nazca] lines and the way they lie on the surface."
--The New York Times
From the Inside Flap
Sacred Landscapes from the Air
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Photographs by Marilyn Bridges
It was for the gods that these earthworks were made and Marilyn Bridges photographs them as they were meant to be seen-- from the heavens. Markings is Bridges's elegant record of the signs of ancient culture on the earth's surface. Her photographic quest began with a flight over the plains of Peru. From a small aircraft she witnessed the extensive spirals, "runways," and animal figures carved into the earth by the Nazca Indians. Her vantage point revealed the true proportions of these mysterious markings, inspiring the work in this volume.
Flying over the jungle of the Yucatán photographing Mayan temples from low altitudes, Marilyn Bridges captured the scale of the Mayan endeavors in the vast sea of jungle surrounding their temples. Her perspective on these sacred historical sites poses profound questions about the relationship between human culture and the natural world. The harmony explicit in the geometry of the ancient sites is contrasted with the lines of encroachment left by modern man. Her American aerial landscapes evoke a diversity of forms and ideas and a natural understanding of rhythm and form. Bridges believes we have a responsibility to recover that knowledge of the natural forces that her photographs reveal.
In Britain the proximity of monuments like Stonehenge to modern urban centers heightens the contrast between the vision of the ancient surveyors, intimate with the land, and modern development. As geometrician Keith Critchlow comments in his accompanying text, "From a part of the heavens previously inhabitable only by angels and gods, we are given evidence of the power of centuries of durations and mystery through a light-sensitive mechanism that holds precise images of a blink of time."
In addition to Keith Critchlow, Maria Reiche, the leading authority on Nazca, provides an illuminating essay; Charles Gallenkamp introduced Bridges's photographs of the Mayan sites; and critic Lucy Lippard writes about Bridges's photographs of the American landscape.
Marilyn Bridges is one of the world's foremost aerial photographers. Numerous books of her work have been produced, among them Planet Peru (Aperture) and Egypt: Antiques from Above. She studied drawing at the Art Students League in New York and received her M.F.A. in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her images have been exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, and Asia and are included in more than fifty collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. Bridges has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as Fulbright and NEA grants. She is a fellow of The Explorers Club and a licensed pilot for both single- and multi-engine aircraft.
Haven O'More is director of the Institute of Traditional Science. Through the Institute, O'More is working on a translation of Proklos Diadokhos's In Platonis Timaeus Commentaria. O'More's own writings can be found in his book of poems, Sacrificial Bone Inscriptions.
Introductions to Marilyn Bridges's photographs are provided by the leading authorities:
Dr. Maria Reiche (1903-1998), the German mathematician, who lived in Nazca, Peru, for more than fifty years and was the world authority on the Nazca Lines.
Charles Gallenkamp, author of Maya: The Riddle and Rediscovery of a Lost Civilization, headed the team of specialists who organized the exhibition "Maya: Treasures of an Ancient Civilization."
Lucy Lippard, writer, critic, art historian, and author of numerous books, including Overlay, Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory and Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society.
Keith Critchlow, geometrician, architect, authority on sacred geometry, and author of Order in Space and Time Stands Still, a study of the geometry of megalithic Britain.