With his Honey Run Tribute, Forrest Oldham commemorates the Honey Run covered bridge that spanned the Butte Creek in Butte County, California. The bridge was destroyed by the 2018 California Camp Fire, and Oldham states that his purpose in producing the book is to raise money for the fire’s victims and to help restore the bridge.
The book is primarily comprised of photographs taken by the author and photographers Susan Bovey, Sue Graue and Rod Bradford. The author also provides a short history of the bridge and relates stories derived from his encounters with Camp Fire refugees.
The bridge, Oldham states, was built in 1890 and according to local folklore, “received its name when a couple was walking nearby that disturbed a bee’s nest. One said to the other, ‘Run, Honey, run!’ and they ran across the bridge.”
The photographs demonstrate multiple compositional choices and show the bridge’s interior and exterior, as well as the aftermath of the fire. Oldham also includes his photos showing smoke-shrouded cities and examples of power lines that may have caused the fire. Some of the interior photographs of the bridge are exceptional for their evocation of distance and the play of light and shadow. Other than a few additional nice angle shots, however, most of the photos are of snapshot quality and some are quite dark.
Oldham’s history of the bridge is also a little sketchy. He fails to mention, for instance, that the bridge was built (in 1886, not 1890) by the American Bridge and Building Company of San Francisco, or to specify that the bridge was rebuilt in 1965 after a colliding truck destroyed its integrity. Honey Run, in addition, has numerous punctuation problems and some sentence structure issues.
The book, as it stands, will interest historians for its photographs of a bygone Californian bridge but would require some revision to attract a wider audience.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.