Photographer John Sanderson, born 1983 in New York City, is drawn to the topographically broad subject matter of the United States. Establishing a counterpoint between the documentary and poetic, his explorations into the environment illustrate historic and contemporary motifs. Compelled by the unexpected irony, humor and ephemeral qualities that are distinctly American, his work is a synthesis of people and places, rich in their ability to evince collective values and a shared history.
Sanderson’s longstanding interest in railroad photography developed into a survey of railroad lines which collapsed as engines of urban economy and cultural activity beginning in the 1950s. Working with 4×5 and 8×10 large-format cameras, he is inspired by the 19th century photographs of William H. Rau and Carleton Watkins, whose landscapes are often devoid of the visual momentum a train carries across a picture — reflecting instead on the railroad’s value independent of its intended use.