Made By Hand

I made this portrait on the factory floor at Eli Bridge Company in Jacksonville, Illinois.

From the outside the place is nondescript. The magic is on the inside. That’s where you’ll find a wonderland that blends Willy Wonka’s factory and a vintage Willys Jeep assembly line.

What a business! Grown men making carnival rides one at a time.

Long before jargon like artisanal, bespoke, and authentic became marketing staples, the men at Eli Bridge were turning out happiness machines in a way that’s true to those exact words.

Like any other former kid, I’m unable to pass by a carnival without getting a dopamine rush. Now I also seek out carnivals to spot the handiwork of these great craftsmen.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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