Saturday, November 3, 2012

19th Century Painting/Photography Analysis

The Last Spike

This photograph was taken by Andrew Joseph Russell at Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10th 1869. It shows the ceremony of the driving of the golden spike where the railway lines met to form the first Transcontinental Railroad from East to West in the United States. 
This was the first time that both coasts of America had met to create their first real means of nationwide transportation. 
To me this picture shows a great sense of unity and happiness. You can see this from the body language of the workers who are facing each other and what appears to be sharing a drink in the top middle of the photograph. This image is a great representation of what the American's were capable of doing and how passionate they were for their country at the time. It shows development over time in which they started their 'Manifest Destiny' to go from the east to the west. Another thing that could be pointed out is the difference in clothes and the different model of train that the Americans had. One could think that these two different sides of people are a completely different race as it's in black and white and difficult to tell. I could only really think that as one group is from the east and one is from the west that they are clothed differently and equipped differently because of where they are situated. The eastern boarder of America was obviously the hub for many years until the west was settled by the Americans so I guess it would be easier to say that the people of the east were better clothed than the people from the west at that time. 
One last thing is how trains are also facing each other, which gives the picture great power as they are posed to represent the end of a journey or a new chapter in their history. It really adds to the image of the two groups meeting up together in the middle of a vast quest that has taken them many years to fulfil, which is suitably so that they are celebrating.  

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