Original Title: American man overlooking the newly completed transcontinental railroad in Nevada, ~1868.
Hart, Alfred A. American Man Overlooking the Newly Completed Transcontinental Railroad in Nevada, ~1868. Digital image.Slightlywarped.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2014.
Europeans first began immigrating to the New World in the early 1600’s and, just over two centuries later, had succeeded in dominating the entire country. Native Americans were denied their traditions, land, and culture, as the whites attempted to ‘civilize’ the previous inhabitants of the United States.
I was fascinated when I came across this photo. Although the photo is a powerful display of the divide between the new country and the old, I am intrigued by the photographer. Who took this photo, and why? In an era of colonization and unprecedented cruelness towards Native Americans, a (lone?) photographer captures an irreplaceable moment to be documented into American history forever. The image perfectly captures civilization and modernization as technology was pushed, literally and figuratively, further and further into the country. What motives did the photographer have for taking this? I assumed the photographer was white, as Native Americans were typically poorer and more traditionally oriented and therefore wouldn’t own an expensive camera. Did the photographer support the Native American’s culture and reject industrialization? It appears he purposefully included both the Native American and the railroad in the image, as the picture is positioned to perfectly capture the Native American. But who is the mastermind behind this piece?