Low Grade Crossing at Whitford
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William Herman Rau
American, Whitford, Pennsylvania, 1904
Gelatin silver print

17 5/16 x 21 1/2 in.

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When William H. Rau photographed this massive iron bridge in Whitford, Pennsylvania, it was a vital part of the Pennsylvania Railroad's line between the southeastern part of the state and Philadelphia. Rau set up his camera so that the lower tracks recede into the distance straight ahead while the bridge crosses diagonally above them. This angle allowed him to fully depict the bridge's structure, which still exists, though without any railroad tracks.

As official photographer for the Pennsylvania Railroad, Rau documented many of the company's engineering achievements. This image demonstrates his interests in the formal aspects of composition and in depicting the relation of the railroad to the land.