Home Front cover PHOTO ESSAYS About Letters Contact Back Issues Book Shop Contributors LIFE FORCE
The magazine of the photo-essay
January 2017 issue
The Big Dig
by Michael Hintlian
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Back to menu
In early 1997 I began photographing the Central Artery/Tunnel Project and it became my world for the seven and a half years that followed.  Completely unofficial and without permission I entered the sites 3 or 4 times per week often as early as 5:00 a.m. and as late as midnight along with workers of various trades.  I worked for several hours or until supervision appeared to ask me to leave.  This was of little concern as the project was so incredibly large that a simple two-block walk offered entrance to yet another amazing site and I continued to work.  This was my routine. From the earliest the idea of this work had little to do with the landmark phases of the construction though some of the ribbon-cutting ceremonies provided interesting picture opportunities.  Instead it was about how these amazing assets were created, mostly by hand.  This act of becoming where men and women created and built with their hands was how I saw the Big Dig; once the construction finished so had the “Big Dig”. I finished the project in 2004 with the publication of a book, and now after more than ten years the process of making fresh prints is a return to the negatives and a
certain re-seeing of the images.  Today my work bears little resemblance to this work.  Looking back I owe much to this personal project, it helped me to find unexplored parts of my voice and I remain grateful for the visual gifts it opened.  Michael Hintlian December 2016
Pouring concrete, 2001.
Under Hanover Street, 2001.
Splicing soldier pile under existing artery, State Street, 1997.
Bulldozer under Dock Square, 2000.
Pouring concrete under Summer Street, 2003.
Tunnel near Haymarket, 2001.
Pouring Concrete, Near Dewey Square, 2004.
Break, Everett Staging Yard, 1997.
Near the Silver Line, Commonwealth Flats, 1999.
Pre-Dawn Snow, Dewey Square, 2003.
Breaking Hardened Concrete, 2003.
Shadow, Charlestown, 2001.
Iron Worker and Rebar, 2002.
Footing for column, Leverett Connector, Charlestown, 1999.
Rebar wall, Massachusetts Turnpike interchange at South Station, 2000.
Rebar and sunlight under Causeway Street, 2001.
Moving a jersey barrier, North End, 2001.
Break, Dewey Square Tunnel section, 2004.
Raising rebar under Haymarket, 2000.