I’ve featured quite a few of Jack Delano’s Library of Congress photographs on this blog over the last 18 months or so. Maybe it’s because he photographed subjects that I am interested in, but his photographs stand out for some reason. While some of the portraits of the railway workers on the Santa Fe and Chicago and North Western Railroad are clearly posed (the best candid photographs are always posed, a wedding photographer once told me), others are less obviously so and were probably done as a collaboration with the subjects who were carrying out their daily tasks. But they do have too much of a sense of occasion about them to be candids.
This second selection (below) caught my eye though. Most railway photography is about the hardware – the locomotives, trains, the infrastructure and their place within the urban and rural landscapes where they are found. And of course, you will sometimes (occasionally) get some featuring people. This selection is not about any of these subjects. These are more abstract and are in my eyes about light and movement, They are created as a consequence of trains and people, but are not about trains and people. Or maybe I’m reading too much into them and he was simply killing time experimenting at the end of a shift or waiting for something to happen?
Interestingly, after the war Jack Delano moved into cinema, a route not uncommon for photographers including John Bulmer, a British Photographer who I will also be writing about at some point in the next 12 months.