Liminal Films
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The Forgotten West
As a boy in America, it is hard not to grow up with a fascination for trains. I and most of my friends had train sets that would be erected yearly, and while playing with them, we would be transported into the miniature towns and long journeys that only endless hours sitting in front of these small wonderlands could provide. Whether or not we knew the actual history of the railroad in this country, there was something that drew us to the massive lumbering steel of the trains; they were ubiquitous to small cities throughout the United States.
Some summer evenings I used to listen to the whistle of the distant train as it made its way through town and imagine myself the conductor of an ever-lengthening line of cars, falling off into the distant horizon as I pushed my way towards no particular destination, just the rhythm of the tracks providing the soundtrack for my soul. And so it is that every time I pass an abandoned trainyard, or a few scattered train cars, seemingly forgotten, lost and deserted, with no engine to find their way home again, I have a yearning for the days when the small trains in my living room could kindle the vast worlds that now remain solely in Westerns.
A year or so ago, while driving from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam to shoot some motion film of that behemoth of the New Deal, I found a small stretch of seemingly forgotten track upon which stood a few mismatched traincars. It took over a year to fashion a movie about that spot, but the photographs that I took that first day offer up the yearning and sorrow at seeing these once majestic machines now cut, broken and rusting.
These simple black-and-white images are presented with a slight selenium tone, and evoke the feeling of the lost majesty of a bygone era. Also included are a few images that are equally evocative of nineteenth-century America, including one of the power silos of the Hoover Dam.