Page 7 - July 25 2016
P. 7
THE WEEKLY ANCHOR PAGE 7 MONDAY JULY 25, 2016


Photographic exploration of the Alphabet Railway




by Deanna Mitchener

Dianne Brydon and Cheryl Hoffmann with
the ABC Railway Project made a stop in Edson
on July 18, seeking out local locations of
history for the ABC railway project along their
route.
“This project sees our team of four Canadian
women researchers and photographers
following 1,557 kilometers of track through
three provinces, following the orderly
arrangement of towns, whimsically named in
alphabetical order,” said Brydon. “Today, the
section of railway between Portage La Prairie
and Jasper is fondly known as the Alphabet
Railway.”
“Our model for this project is the Postcards
from America series undertaken by Magnum
Photographers and led by Alex Soth. In
exploring the towns, we will identify and
photograph common demographic and spatial
themes that reflect on the state of the nation on
the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
Themes such as community pride, immigration
past and present, the impetus of transportation
corridors and the fabric of historical
geography,” said Brydon.
“Our goal for the fieldwork is to identify the
imprint of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Company (GTP) concept on the Western
Canadian landscape and photograph that
impact as we see it. We are equipped not only
with our cameras and our ideas, but also with
maps, old photographs, information from
archives and conversations with local museum
staff and municipal leaders. We will then make
images that reflect our personal connections
with these communities as we travel along the
route and create a visual record of the
personality of each place,” said Brydon.
When the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Company (GTP) laid a rail line across
Canada's northern prairies at the beginning of
the twentieth century, it promised a new world
of health, wealth and happiness. Despite its
early bankruptcy and subsequent absorption by
Canadian National Railways in 1923, the GTP
was instrumental in creating community along
this new route from Winnipeg to Prince
Rupert.
"Two preliminary visits to sections of the
Alphabet Railway in 2015 introduced us to the
communities and allowed us to plan our
journey to the towns along the entire length of Dianne Brydon and Cheryl Hoffmann with the ABC Railway Project and Drew Jacklin and Justin
the Alphabet Railway, with time to create a Stewart seen behind working on the Caboose that sits in Centennial Park on July 18. Dianne
library of photographs that tell some and Cheryl are making stops along the ABC Railway to record and photograph for Canada's
interesting visual stories,” said Brydon. upcoming 150th celebrations. photo Deanna Mitchener




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