Railroad Vision (March 3 to June 23, 2002)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 5 to June 23, 2002
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[Railroad Bridge Across Grasshopper Creek, Kansas]
Alexander Gardner (American, born Scotland, 1821 - 1882)
Albumen silver print
33 x 47.5 cm (13 x 18 11/16 in.)
Although the setting for this railroad bridge appears serene, the impending arrival of a large, noisy steam engine could, at any moment, destroy its tranquility. Railroads connected people to places far and wide, but in passing through remote regions they altered once-pristine landscapes. Overcoming geological obstacles, like this narrow body of water, was a significant feat. The locomotive's path required bridges, trestles, tunnels, and other engineering constructions for the "iron horse" to run smoothly.
Alexander Gardner made this image while documenting the construction of a rail line to California for the Kansas Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads.
Sherow, James E., with photographs by John R. Carlton. Railroad Empire Across the Heartland: Rephotographing Alexander Gardner's Westward Journey (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2014) p. 80.