RETIREE'S PHOTS SHOW OFF NATURE AT BETH STEEL
Work is featured in Dundalk Renaissance Corp. exhibit
by Joseph M. Giordano
For most local residents, the aging ISG plant is no pretty picture.
for one retiree, the rusting railroad tracks and rotting docks are home
to flora and fauna so beautiful that the Dundalk Renaissance Corp. is
showing his work as part of Bethlehem Steel: Gone But Not Forgotten, a
photo series running throughout the summer.
Bud Lippert, 57, started noticing the colorful flora around the plant about 10 years ago and has been shooting ever since.
started out taking pictures of the ranges at my archery club in
Gunpowder [State Park]," Lippert said. "Then I shot birds at the feeder
at my home."
retired fuel tech who lives in Middle River, was not permitted to carry
a camera around while on the now-defunct Bethlehem Steel's property.
"I had so much equipment that I was able to take a camera with me and no one noticed," Lippert said.
result was not industrial espionage - which may have been why the
policy was initiated - but an as-yet-unseen look at the wildlife around
the hulking steel towers and blackened landscape.
"I thought that many people had taken pictures of [Beth Steel]," Lippert said. "But no one had seen it like this."
23 photographs show Beth Steel at its best, with Canada geese and their
young strutting in front of massive mills, purple loosestrife bursting
through abandoned railroad tracks and yellow primroses peaking though
"It got to a point when I had to buy an Audubon book," Lippert said. "That way I could identify all the [flora]."
With all the animals - like osprey, geese and even a roach - one of Lippert's photos really stands out.
hit that at just the right moment," Lippert said about his dazzling
shot of the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge. "I caught the sun at
just the right moment going through the bridge."
Lippert's show at the DRC was possible thanks to an idea from Bill Barry, director of labor studies at CCBC Dundalk.
an effort to call attention to the steelworkers' history project - an
extensive undertaking co-sponsored by the nonprofit Project Millenium
through which oral histories are gathered, archive photographs from the
Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society and the Baltimore Sun are
collected and panel discussions are presented at the DRC and CCBC
Dundalk - Barry collected Lippert's shots into one of the three photo
shows at the DRC of the former Beth Steel plant and its employees.
have some pretty good photographs from all over," Barry said.
"[Lippert's], the Baltimore Sun [collection] and the upcoming show by
Mallin, a Washington, D.C.-based photographer, will
present Beth Steel images taken for America at Work magazine, according
But about Lippert, Barry was amazed to see the work of the amateur nature photographer and former Beth Steel employee.
The two met at the plant's Career Development Center last year.
and I were talking," Barry said, "and he said 'I've got these photos of
birds, flowers and plants from over the years that nobody wants.' I
thought it would be a great addition to the project."
Barry was also surprised at Lippert's photos because of the way they were taken.
have to remember," Barry said, "that it was strictly forbidden to have
any kind of camera on [Beth Steel] property. I was impressed."
After the two met up again last year, Lippert was ready to show Barry his work. He acknowledged the guidance Barry provided.
went through a lot of my work," Lippert said. "Some of the shots,
although they're good, didn't quite reflect the plant. Bill said they
could have been taken anywhere."
Besides taking pictures of the plant, Lippert is an expert biker who used to pedal the 13 miles to work.
got into biking about 1990," Lippert said. "Since then I've biked from
Myrtle Beach [S.C.] to Maryland as well as biking to work every day
As for nature, Lippert hopes to collect his Beth Steel photos into a book and will keep taking the type of shots he loves.
just shot my neighbor's garden," Lippert said. "When she saw the
pictures she told me they looked like shots of a park, not of her back
garden. That's why I take pictures."
Lippert's work is on display with selected shots from The Sun until the end of the month.
Bethlehem Steel: Gone But Not Forgotten
Through May: Photos by nature photographer Bud Lippert and from the BaltimoreSun.
Where: Dundalk Renaissance Corp., 81 Shipping Place.
When: Weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Wednesdays)
Next exhibit in series: Women of Steel (photos by Eagle reporter Marge Neal) opens June 20.
|This shot of the Key Bridge at sunset by Bud Lippert is on display at the DRC through May.