I Ride Trains









            Photographer Stacey Evans grew up in Waynesboro, Virginia, a small town with diverse landscapes – rural, urban, industrial and suburban – that co-exist and conflict. As she translated her interest in photography into a vibrant and successful career by first studying in the Art Foundation Program at Virginia Commonwealth University and then receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography in 1995 from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she acquired the technical skills to translate those formative visual experiences into a unique style. Evans has exhibited widely over the past twenty years and is a recipient of a 2010 Puffin Foundation grant for her I Ride Trains project. Her work is in several permanent collections, and notable commercial clients include diverse small businesses, magazines, individuals and the University of Virginia. She also teaches for the Fralin Museum of Art and is an adjunct faculty member at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Evans lives and gardens and shoos away raccoons with her partner and fellow artist John Grant in Charlottesville and in her spare time enjoys collaborating on projects at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center.

Artist statement

            I began riding trains in my late twenties simply as a mode of transportation. Being a visual artist, I was captivated by the rolling imagery, so I took a photo.  Enchanted by my capture of a tobacco shed framed by the soft green blur of passing foliage, I shot again.

           I always knew I wanted to photograph America but was unsure of what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it, until I took that first photograph through the train window.  Photographing stillness while in motion forces me to give up some control – and that thrills me as an artist.  It defied much of what I had been taught about landscape photography.
           So for the last several years, the train has been my portal to the great American landscape. I scan that landscape with my digital single lens reflex camera close to my face and look for approaching patterns that carry a story about how we exist with the land. I take aim, focus and shoot in the instant before the moment passes. In my most recent journey, I travelled the width of the country by train to photograph the multiple literal and metaphorical transitions that occur as you travel to the west, to the new.