Sep 2, 2004

Hemlock Forest, Lehigh Valley Railroad

Hemlock Forest, Lehigh Valley Railroad

c. 1895

William H. Rau

(American, 1855-1920)

Albumen print from wet collodion negative

Image: 43.2 x 51.8 cm (17 x 20 3/8 in.); Mounted: 43.5 x 52.5 cm (17 1/8 x 20 11/16 in.); Matted: 76.2 x 81.3 cm (30 x 32 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2002.50



Realizing photography's advertising potential, the Leigh Valley Railroad, in the mid-1890s, commissioned the distinguished, widely traveled commercial and documentary photographer William H. Rau. He recorded a series of scenic views that would be seen while traveling along the new line running between New York and Niagara Falls. Rau utilized mammoth plate and panoramic negatives, developing them in a rail car specially outfitted with a darkroom. In this photograph, one of his most dramatic compositions, the parallel steel rails, positioned slightly off center, slice through a dense, mysterious forest. Ironically, the train line alters the pristine landscape so that a greater number of people can enjoy it.

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