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Continuity & Change: The Lure of North American Railroads

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Author: Scott Lothes

Railroads 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 and change.

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.

Publisher: Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Published: 09/01/2022
Pages: 384
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 6.15lbs
Size: 11.26h x 11.26w x 1.57d
ISBN: 9781734563511

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