No. 18. At the Susquehanna, A strategic crossing

Featured here are images of bridges linking Columbia, PA, in Lancaster County with Wrightsville in York County. Because of the strategic location at the Susquehanna River, this crossing assumed great importance during both the westward expansion of the US and the Civil War. It was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. During the Gettysburg campaign, the Confederate Army under Lee hope to seize control of what was then the world’s longest covered bridge. Union troops and local militia burned to bridge to prevent the Confederates, who had occupied Wrightsville, from crossing and attacking Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg from the rear. The piers of that bridge are still visible in the river. The owners of the bridge demanded restitution by the federal government fruitlessly into the 1960s. The Veterans Memorial Bridge opened in 1930.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. But Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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