When we decided to develop the exhibition TRACKS: The Railroad in Photographs from the George Eastman House Collection, we knew we wanted to present a variety of images of trains from the long history of transportation. What we found is that it coincided with photography in a wonderful way! Both technologies came about at the same moment in history and both changed how the world would be viewed. Trains made the world seem smaller; suddenly places that seemed impossible to reach could be traveled to in days. In a similar fashion photography made the world bigger; things that were previously unseen by the human eye became accessible, time was stopped, and every detail of life could be captured.
It is often sad when an exhibition closes, and the photographs go back to the vault to be stored until they are called upon again. In the case of TRACKS, however, the exhibition will live on even when it is no longer on the walls of George Eastman House. As a traveling exhibition, TRACKS will be shipped to other institutions and be shared with a bigger audience than Rochester, New York can supply. It will also be presented at a conference this April! I will have the pleasure to share the images and ideas behind the selection with the participants of CONVERSATIONS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY. This conference is produced by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in Madison, Wisconsin and will be held on the campus of Lake Forest College in Illinois. Please visit the conference website for more information: http://www.railphoto-art.org/conference/
Jamie M. Allen is an Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at George Eastman House. She is a graduate of The University of Arizona, Tucson (2000) and holds a MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University (2006).