Stacey Evans captures the American landscape by train in “Passenger”

Passenger—Virginia, 1:37:57PM, Northeast Regional, Summer 2012.  Image courtesy of the artist. Passenger—Virginia, 1:37:57PM, Northeast Regional, Summer 2012. Image courtesy of the artist.

Landscape photographer Stacey Evans loves maps.  She loves how they represent geography, the way they look, and the linear connections feed her interest in elemental design.

“I look at maps quite a bit and I’m fascinated with maps,” said Evans.“I love knowing if I’m going north or if I’m going south.  I don’t use GPS to track where I’m going.  That kind of takes the beauty and mystery away from it.”

What began as a passion for maps and travel, has resulted in her latest photography exhibition, “Passenger,” a collection of photos shot while riding trains on both coasts of the U.S.

“I was using trains for transportation. Going to New York City and to Charleston, S.C., to visit friends and family. As I continued to ride these routes repeatedly I was interested in the land, how I could have access to that land, “ she said. “I was interested in all the beauty that was passing me, and the differences between New York and Charleston. So it was a natural transition to start taking photographs.”

“Under the Bridge—Pennsylvania, 11:58:08PM, Capitol Limited, Summer 2012.” Image courtesy of the artist.

Equipped with a Canon 5D, Evans plays fast and loose with the traditional standards of ISO and noise. In pictures like “Under the Bridge—Pennsylvania, 11:58:08PM, Capitol Limited, Summer 2012” she pushes digital format boundaries to turn a quick capture into an engaging and mysterious photograph. As a remote observer on board a train, she is witness to gems of nature, the backside of industry, and an honest view of Americana as in “Swimming Pool—Illinois, 8:17:39AM, Capitol Limited, Summer 2012.”

Documenting the passing landscape from a place of secure isolation allows Evans to imagine the intrigue in her work.

“There are a lot of things I have witnessed that I would not have seen, had I not been on a train,” she said. “There’s so much compelling information out there.  I think the strangest (story) is when we passed a field where there were two cars with open trunks and in my mind it looked like an episode of ‘The Sopranos.’  I see a lot of things in the passing moment and I will never know the full story of what is happening in that scene.”

“Passenger” is on display at Chroma Projects Art Laboratory through October 27.