Of course it can be a beautiful way to travel, but for the most part long-distance trains are for people trying to get their lives together, to find work, or to reunite with people they love whom they hope will love them back. This project explores that search for something just out of reach and a bit intangible. It is about the desire for change and the possibility of hope fulfilled.
Traveling by 15-day rail passes; the train interior provides a stage consistent in color and design for portraits exploring a passenger’s true journey. Passengers write why they are traveling, where they are coming from, and where they hope to go. A veteran from Chicago describes decades of heroin addiction, “It’s reality facing reality…but that fantasy, it’s a real motherfucker.” Individually their stories are about a desire for something to happen, or a situation they are trying to rectify. Collectively, they sketch our nations identity. A single mother commuting to the oil fields of North Dakota. A teenage son hoping to reunite with his father.
In Search of Great Men combines original photography with first person, passenger-written accounts to explore contemporary American culture through the status of our passenger rail system and those currently traveling by train. Ultimately this on-going project will be disseminated in book format combining content from all routes.