When Vera Lutter moved to New York City from her native Munich, she was immediately overwhelmed and impressed by the glamour and chaos of the city, with all of its lights, sounds and frenetic energy. In an effort to record her visceral reactions to the city and the powerful emotions it evoked from within her, she began experimenting with the camera obscura, perhaps the oldest and most simple form of photography:
"Through the windows, the outside world flooded the space inside and penetrated my body. It was really an impressive experience on all levels, and I decided to turn it into an art piece: the space, the room inside which I had this experience, would become the container to transform that very experience. The room would become a transfer station from outside to inside, the window itself the eye that sees from inside out. I placed a pinhole on the window surface and replaced my body with a sensitive material, and that was the photographic paper. This setup was meant to record my experience, in place of myself" (Vera Lutter, quoted in interview with P. Wollen, Bomb Magazine, Fall 2003, no. 85).
Although formally trained as a sculptor, Lutter has become most well known for her enormous photographic works that depict large-scale architectural spaces and industrial landscapes. Primarily interested in locations which reference particular historical moments or which have adopted some sort of iconic stature, Lutter's subjects are often industrial sites or places relating to modern transportation, notably airports and bridges. The results of Lutter's lengthy process are massive, unique negative images that are imbued with a haunting quality and ethereal tones which signify the passing of time and reflect the ephemeral and eternal nature of life.
In Brooklyn Bridge, Lutter presents the viewer with a ghostly image of the famous New York monument and transportation hub. The bridge's stasis over the duration of the long exposure, associated with the absence of figures and motion, emphasises the bridge's awesome strength while humanising its isolation and seclusion. The scale of the image itself allows the viewer to be completely absorbed into the scene where these very emotions can be experienced throughout the body.