Riding Vanished Rails
Jeff Brouws takes photos of abandoned railroad rights-of-way. The “train-track” perspective that still lurks in his pictures is the last trace of technology’s encounter with nature. His photos are haunted by the trains that no longer cross them. One way or another, such haunting is the central subject of “The Permanent Way”, a show at the New York non-profit gallery called Apexart. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the law that paved the way (almost literally) for the first transcontinental railroad, Brian Shollis, a brilliant young scholar now transitioning from art into history, has put together a small survey of railroad-themed images. It includes vintage train maps, old railroad postcards and contemporary art about trains and their riders. No matter how commonplace trains became, I don’t think we ever grew completely blase about them. As they disappear, we may become less neglectful than ever.
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