This collection is as much a distillation of David Plowden's career as it is about the steel industry. An overview of this industrial cycle allows the viewer to glimpse what Plowden calls his "lifelong preoccupation with man's works and his machines." Images are highlighted with comments from the photographer.
We're taking rock and turning it into skyscrapers.
I felt in touch with cosmic powers nowhere else experienced in life.
These are some of the largest engineering structures ever created.
The architecture of steel making is like no other.
No other industry produces such massive or complicated structures as steel.
This is way beyond human scale.
It was like hell on earth.
It is the most spectacular of all industrial processes.
No other construction matched the detail and mass of a mill.
This was done before everything changed.
And it's not there anymore.
Text excerpted from catalogue produced on the occasion of the feature exhibition Steel: The Cycle of Industry (Grohmann Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2017)
All photographs ©David Plowden