photo train interior

Allan Michael, 35. Old Train, Interior, from 1950

Getting into this open train yard in Hoboken, NJ was a real photographic opportunity. As I walked carefully into this car I felt as if I was thrown back to a different time and era. It was a quiet scene yet had brilliance. The sunlight brought the shadowy interior to life, yet you knew this train hadn’t moved for decades. It has a lived-in quality, almost as if the conductor was going to enter at any moment.  

      Eli Siegel asks about Light and Dark:

Does all art present the world as visible, luminous, going forth?does art, too, present the world as dark, hidden, having a meaning which seems to be beyond ordinary perception?and is the technical problem of light and dark in painting related to the reality question of the luminous and hidden?

Light and dark are throughoutone side of the coach is in sunlight, the other in shadow. The dark shadow in the back is ominous and yet welcoming. On the side with the most light the seats are in sunlight and shadow at the same time, and have partly drawn dark shades. And on each seat frame in the right side in shadow, are bright sunlit squares of different shapes. The floor, while in shadow, has sunlight streaks running down it in gradually smaller and smaller sections. The roof of the car has four black fans and four white light globes.

      I, as a photographer, want to have a relation between what is hidden and what is in the light, and I learned, so does every person. What is mysterious or dark has to be for the same purpose as what is right up front. I had an inner life I kept from people and tried to show a sunny disposition while keeping what I really felt way inside, feeling people weren’t worth showing myself to. How wrong I was. I learned from Aesthetic Realism that to be an integrity, which I wanted to be my whole life, I had to see that showing myself was wise, and people were friendlier than I knew. I’m grateful to see now that people are more like me than different.

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