and photography came of age together in the nineteenth century and
share a dynamic relationship in the twenty-first. That relationship
flows from the traditions of both commercial photography and
photojournalism, and it is defined today by the paradox of continuity
This landmark publication explores that paradox--and the contemporary
nature of the North American railroad--in more than 230 photographs and
thirteen essays. They delve into a wide range of topics: railroads and
nature, pathways of commerce, passenger railroading, heritage
activities, workers, international connections, the allure of
continent-crossing networks, and how the passage of time marks both
railroads and photography. That last notion is at the heart of this
book. Railroads invented standardized time, time came to govern
railroads, and photography records moments in time.
The nature of visible changes on the railroad is often that of great
steps followed by long plateaus, and this nature can imbue the railroad
with a false sense of continuity. Yet more changes always come.
Photographers portray these changes over time, capturing visual records
of the present before it becomes the past. They seek the bold, new
innovations as well as the relics of anachronism. Although recent
changes to the railroad have made its equipment more homogenous, its
landscape more sterile, and its impact more hidden, these photographs
show that the modern railroad is still dramatic, bold, diverse,
evocative, and utterly vital to the global economy.
Drawing from the Center for Railroad Photography & Art's talented
community of image-makers and from their own lifelong interests in
railroads and the visual arts, editors Alexander Craghead and Scott
Lothes present a stunning body of work. It commemorates the Center's
25th anniversary while making a compelling case that the union of
railroads and photography is as rich and potent as ever.