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Book of the Week: A Pick by Mary Goodwin

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Mary Goodwin Mary Goodwin selects By Rail and By Sea by Scott Conarroe as Book of the Week.
By Rail and By Sea. By Scott Conarroe.
Waltz Books, 2015.
This week's Book of the Week pick comes from Mary Goodwin who has selected By Rail and By Sea by Scott Conarroe from Black Dog Publishing.

"In America, trains hold a very special place in the national psychology. For vast swaths and generations of the population, trains and train travel are mythological, romantic concepts rather than facts of everyday life. Here is that myth: Trains, pushing ever out and westward, carried the goods that made America into an economic powerhouse; trains transported people from moribund cities on one coast to space and fresh air on another; trains are freedom and adventure and also danger, the only vehicle that could have brought America up to the edge of its Manifest Destiny.

Canadian photographer Scott Conarroe has been exploring the rambling physical lines of this mythology for many years. In his first monograph, By Rail and By Sea, Conarroe shows us the many landscapes throughout North America that provide the real-life backdrop to our romantic visions of the rails; he also explores the coastlines where those visions drift away.

Using a large format camera, Conarroe photographs these land and seascapes in the dawn and dusk light that seems the only kind that could accurately illuminate myth. Photographing almost always from a slightly elevated perspective, he shows us the rails as they cut through and along deserted plains and waterways, and also through our cities and backyards. By the rails and by the seas, there are also traces of how we live our lives now, on both sides of the tracks and by the shore. Industrial parks, single-family homes, apartment buildings, abandoned cars, amusement parks, pools, and even other forms of conveyance mark the places we have set down roots. Perhaps this is the secret tension in these photographs; they explore the places where the myth of constant expansion and motion meets the reality that we are already there."—Mary Goodwin

Purchase Book

By Rail and By Sea. By Scott Conarroe. Waltz Books, 2015.
By Rail and By Sea. By Scott Conarroe. Waltz Books, 2015.

Mary Goodwin is the founder and publisher at Waltz Books (, an independent photobook publishing company.

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