About This Series
Nothing touches my heart like hearing a locomotives horn echoing off in the distance. The softly muted tone that trails as it’s smoothed by the cushion of air between me and the train that may be miles away. That sound is exhilarating as it quiets my soul and sparks memories for my love of trains. As a photographer this is what I live to capture; that feeling, the sounds, and even smells. I want you to inhale my photos and be transported within the crisp straight edges of the photograph. Through some of my photos from West Virginia, you will be able to experience the spirit of place, the spirit of an Appalachia hollow filled with battered 100 year old coal camp homes that nestle along the steel ribbon. To experience photos that have no boundaries is absolutely limitless. You can close your eyes and hear the pounding of a train miles away through the steep mountain sides. That low vibrating hum that grows from a faint whisper into a clash of battling steel squealing up the mountain grade as the locomotives grind past and the smell of diesel fumes fill the air.
To be whisked away to the open rolling plains of Wyoming covered in pastel golden wispy grasses that tickle the air as gentle breezes roll across the long rolling hills. You can see for miles and miles from the plateau of these hills. The distance is far; yet everything feels within reach. A vibration can be felt and as you look hard you see a small thin line slowly moving along the landscape off in the distance. When the sun catches the shiny aluminum hopper cars just right, they reflect a shimming silver light that dances among the prairie grasses. As you follow the road over the rolling hills you notice that the next plateau brings you into sight of a concrete structure dusted in black coal dust that towers towards the sky. This is the Thunder Basin National Grasslands located in the heart of the Powder River Basin coal country.
Capturing the spirit of a place isn’t easy. What is the spirit of a place anyways? Is it a feeling? Is it the people? Is it the subject? Or just a town or spot along a set of tracks? Place can be one of many things when it comes to railroads. For photographers like me, place is something we strive to capture, to express to our viewers. It could be a historical location or industrial spur. Maybe it is a passenger station filled with people hurrying to catch a train. I love to capture the essence of a place. I want to show how I feel when I am somewhere; be it the wide open feeling in the Dakotas, the Powder River Basin in Wyoming or the thick woods of Northern Wisconsin. I don’t see railroads as just pieces of equipment on steel tracks; I see them as vital machines that flow within their environments connecting to places beyond eyesight.