The magazine of the photo-essay
Nov 2017 back issue
Man-made Sublime
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by John Bartelstone
After spending years photographing industrial places that had seen better days I decided to look for and document thriving industrial facilities in an attempt to capture in living factories those sublime (man-made, not natural) qualities which seem to survive even the death and decay of a place. In a functioning facility those qualities are very powerful. Examples of the man-made sublime come in several forms; there’s the tranquil, torpid and frozen-in-time sublime that one finds in ruins, and then there is the active, monstrous, frightening and powerful living-industrial-sublime. It is the latter that I’m trying to capture these days. One finds a fascinating relationship between architecture and machines in a large factory - the static trying to hold back the kinetic and just barely winning. Factories are much more than wondrous things to see, they are the generators of modern life, irreducible and essential even though they are both scorned and ignored in the 21st century. Visiting and photographing sites of heavy industry is exciting but it’s a bit like photographing a sporting event. One has to move fast and there is little time for long stretches of solitude and reverie. Unless you like getting arrested, all shooting needs to be done with permission, corporate supervision and within a tight time-frame. It’s challenging but very enjoyable.
Titan Machine Works Finished elevator machines ready to ship. Queens, New York City, NY.
Titan Machine Works. Machinist cuts a sheave (pulley wheel) on a vertical lathe. Queens, New York City, NY.
Titan Machine Works Finished sheaves for elevator shafts. Queens, New York City, NY.
Alcoa Heavy Forge. Long view toward new 50,000 ton press in distance. Cleveland, Ohio, US.
Alcoa Heavy Forge. New 50,000 ton press for closed-die aluminium and titanium forging. Cleveland, Ohio, US.
Alcoa Heavy Forge. 60 year old 35,000 ton press did all the work while the 50,000 was being rebuilt. Cleveland, Ohio, US.
Arcelor Mittal. Ladles for molten iron are kept warm at the basic oxygen furnace. Cleveland Works.
Arcelor Mittal. Scrap steel is added to molten iron in the furnace. Cleveland Works.
Arcelor Mittal. Roughing mill end of the rolling mill. Cleveland Works.
Arcelor Mittal. Finishing stands near end of line before steel is spooled into coils. Cleveland Works.
Ellwood Quality Steels. Electric arc furnace makes new steel from scrap. Newcastle, Pennsylvania.
Ellwood Quality Steels, Newcastle, Pennsylvania. Ladle metalurgy stand where steel is mixed with additives and heated in small induction furnaces.
Ellwood Quality Steels,Newcastle, Pennsylvania. Worker tags newly released billet.
Ellwood Quality Steels.  Newcastle, Pennsylvania. Glowing ring (from partially-forged bloom) is removed from re-heat oven on wayback to forge. The giant electric tractor is a manipulator.
Ellwood Quality Steels. Newcastle, Pennsylvania. Re-heated ring being forged.
Ellwood Quality Steels. Newcastle, Pennsylvania. Blooms being released from moulds. They will become turbine shafts.
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