Photographs & History

Photographs and History

Continuing A Legacy | Photographing the Pennsylvania Railroad

The Rockville Bridge, circa 1875, from the album entitled, "Scenery of the Pennsylvania Railroad" by Frederick Gutekunst. Collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia

The Rockville Bridge, circa 1875, from the album entitled, "Scenery of the Pennsylvania Railroad" by Frederick Gutekunst. Collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia

At the dawn of the industrial revolution the American railroad became the vehicle at which life’s pace was set. Growing in the east and expanding across the western frontier the railroad was responsible for America’s success. Engineering such a system at such a rapid speed was no small task, the men who ran these companies understood the value of their accomplishments and wanted to share it with the world. To tout their new transportation systems, luring travellers to ride this modern marvel and experience the American landscape railroads turned to another new product of the industrial age; photography. Employing some the most preeminent photographers of the time, railroads outfitted special cars placed under the direction of senior passenger agents to see that their photographer had the best accommodations to illustrate their pride and joy. By no coincidence was the Pennsylvania Railroad one of the biggest supporters of this endeavor being their corporate headquarters of Philadelphia also happened to be the epicenter of photography in the US in the 19th Century. The PRR employed photographers for a multitude of tasks including the glamorous commissions to illustratate the railroad and its destinations for the Centennial and Columbian Expositions to the more mundane day-to-day documentation of massive engineering projects taking place all over the system. 

Horseshoe Curve, William T Purviance, Circa late 1860's. Collection of the New York Public Library. 

Horseshoe Curve, William T Purviance, Circa late 1860's. Collection of the New York Public Library. 

While photography and the railroads redefined the 19th century’s perception of space and time, surviving imagery leaves us a rich visual legacy to derive tremendous amounts of information about the railroad, the landscape and the energy of the industrial age. It’s this imagery that feeds my creativity and imagination, that allows me to visualize the prominent role the Pennsylvania Railroad played in developing the United States and the continual improvements they made to better themselves in the process.  These volumes of visual assets are the foundation of what inspires my work; the photographer’s technical and aesthetic ability, the conceptual ideals and the resulting images rich with information foster a continued dialogue with my own image making, inspiring new works from images of the past.

This is a brief excerpt form the upcoming lecture “Continuing a Legacy, Photographing the Pennsylvania Railroad” which I will present on February 13th for the Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society

 

Winter News And Events

A new year brings new opportunities and so far 2016 seems to be living up to that expectation! Here are the latest updates for the first quarter of 2016. There will be several opportunities to view work from the Main Line and Watershed projects and soon I will be sharing a recent interview and lecture that are in the works. Stay tuned for more in the coming months and as always, thank you for your continued support!

Historical Imagery Credits: L. Collection of Michael Froio, C. Frederick Gutekunst, R. William N. Jennings, Both Collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia

Historical Imagery Credits: L. Collection of Michael Froio, C. Frederick Gutekunst, R. William N. Jennings, Both Collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia

Upcoming Lecture: I am pleased to announce the first of several presentations of a new lecture I have been researching that explores the legacy the Pennsylvania Railroad left behind in photographs and how that imagery has influenced my own work. The presentation looks at several noted photographers commissioned to photograph the railroad while tying them to a visual dialogue with my own contemporary works exploring the former Pennsylvania Railroad. 


News Briefs

Bay grass and ATV trails, Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania. One of two images from the Watershed series selected for an award by juror Heather Campbell Coyle for the Perkins Center for the Arts exhibition Photography 35. The show opens January 31st and runs through February 26th and is free and open to the public. 

Bay grass and ATV trails, Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania. One of two images from the Watershed series selected for an award by juror Heather Campbell Coyle for the Perkins Center for the Arts exhibition Photography 35. The show opens January 31st and runs through February 26th and is free and open to the public. 

Perkins Center for the Arts: Photography 35: I am happy to note that I have two pieces from the Watershed series in the Perkins Center annual juried photo exhibition, Photography 35 one of which received honors from juror Heather Campbell Coyle, Curator of American Art at the Delaware Art Museum. The exhibition runs from January 31st through February 26th, 2016 with an opening reception on Sunday, January 31st from 1-4 PM. This exhibition is free and open to the public, for more information visit the Perkins Center online

Main Line Art Center | 2016 Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art Finalist
The Main Line Art Center of Haverford, Pennsylvania selected the Main Line project as one of seven finalists for the 2016 Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art. The competition featured over 200 applicants and awarded three solo shows to artists representing a diverse base of mediums while honoring an additional seven finalists with Professional Artist programming throughout 2016. For more information on programs and exhibitions at the Main Line Art Center visit their website

Upcoming Interview: Photojournalist and Educator Niko J Kalliantiotis interviewed me for a new project titled From America with Love a curated platform hosted by the organization Orama Photos, Greece. The interview is part of a larger project showcasing the current state of contemporary American photography. Stay tuned for more, I will send out the interview when it goes live! 

Upcoming Exhibition: From the Main Line: A Contemporary Survey of the Pennsylvania Railroad | Camera Work Gallery, Scranton, Pennsylvania 

I am very excited to announce the first solo exhibition featuring the Main Line project in a town rich with railroad history. The show will feature some 20 images from the project in a gallery space located in the historic Laundry Building in downtown Scranton. The show runs from March 4th through the 29th, with an opening reception on March 4th from 6-8 PM. More details will follow in the coming weeks!