Under Caledonian Railway Bridge in Glasgow

As I photographed street art in the vicinity of the Lighthouse during my previous trip, my magpie instinct urged me to follow Glasgow city centre mural trail further – this time to visit ‘The Five Faces’ panels by Smug under Caledonian Railway Bridge on Clyde Street. Smug’s colourful and funny artwork painted on the pillars elevates the industrial grudge of the major railway bridge leading to Glasgow Central. For a photographer it was a joy to see how convincingly the artist rendered the light patterns, some from the daylight on the edges of his series, some from the street lamps above, falling on each of his quirky characters (I know, we photographers are a peculiar bunch but most of our trade is based on observing light!).

Incidentally, my photo walk brought me to the highlight point of the Merchant City public art trail – Ian Hamilton Finlay’s controversial carvings from Plato’s Republic on the granite piers of the disused older railway bridge. The remains of a bridge that leads nowhere reminding of the greatness of the Victorian economic achievement or of its historically inevitable decline in the modern era? I tried to frame these odd still standing pillars squarely and symmetrically to play on this ambiguity.

Yet, the impressive repetitive Italianate granite piers under the new (1905) Caledonian Bridge, once the widest river bridge of this kind in the country, evoke a sense of solidity, dependability and purpose. And, with those water light bleaks travelling on the arches and pillars,  perhaps, just a little, of solitude and history – despite frequent runners passing by.

The textured industrial latticework of the steel girders spanning the bridge appealed to me visually, as its reflections in the waters of the river Clyde. Magical.

Part of 'The Five Faces', a series of five murals by Smug on the pillars of Caledonian Railway Bridge

Part of 'The Five Faces', a series of five murals by Smug on the pillars of Caledonian Railway Bridge

The two colourful panels on the left of 'The Five Faces' street artwork

The two colourful panels on the left of the street artwork sequence

Passing the oversizes quirky faces under Caledonian Railway Bridge

Passing the oversized quirky faces under Caledonian Railway Bridge

The light rendering changes of each face to be consistent with real light patterns

The light rendering changes of each face to be consistent with real light patterns

The two bridges - the remains of the first disused Caledonian Bridge in front of the working one that leads into Glasgow Central Station

The two bridges - the remains of the first disused Caledonian Bridge in front of the working one that leads into Glasgow Central Station

The granite piers of the disused bridge

The granite piers of the disused bridge

Steel lattice girders of Caledonian Railway Bridge

Steel lattice girders of Caledonian Railway Bridge

Reflection of the colourful industrial latticework in the river Clyde under the bridge

Reflection of the colourful industrial latticework in the river Clyde under the bridge

The views through the granite structures evoke a sense of permanence and history

The perspective through the granite structures evokes a sense of permanence and history

If you want to see more photos from this walk, please visit my Under Caledonian Railway Bridge Flickr gallery.