These images are from my survey of North America’s rail infrastructure. By Rail is part elegy for a golden age of expansionism, part study of the culture that remains. It shows railroads as a defining factor in this continent’s identity, a constant in a vast and varied landscape. The project’s narrative connotations have railways as the skeleton of our northern New World: immigrants and civil war veterans constructed The First Transcontinental Railroad in eastern states; from the Pacific, Chinese labour forced it through mountains; train travel populated frontiers and diminished native control; Canadian confederation was contingent upon a coast-to-coast rail link. While this series is laden with history, its focus is the present. Shot mainly in 2008, By Rail depicts a period of seismic transformation. In addition to all sorts of literary references, the poetic twang of parallel tracks meeting at the horizon, and simple visual potency, I love that this series concluded the month of Barack Obama’s inauguration; he is, among other things, the first American president-elect since 1953 to arrive in Washington by rail.