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 photographs 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.