Vera Lutter 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, IV: April 20, 2006
30th Street Station, Philadelphia, IV: April 20, 2006
50 x 146 inches (126 x 372 cm)

This work was created specially for the 2006 exhibition Taken with Time: a camera obscura project at The Print Center in Philadelphia, PA. For this project, Lutter commissioned a local artist to build a custom 20'x7'x8' camera obscura in a parking garage facing the train station.

"Normally, 30th Street Station is a hub of activity. Passenger and cargo trains pass through the station, while cars line up waiting to drop off and pick up passengers scurrying to their destinations. Ironically, Lutter’s photograph does not reflect any of this activity. Apocalyptic in its tone, the image is featured as a negative print. Devoid of human presence, the black sky and lack of movement in the rail yard and trestle bridge suggest a bygone era of industrialization. Historically, Philadelphia was an important manufacturing city and 30th Street Station served as the locus of interchange and intersection, where companies transported goods up and down the northeast corridor. 

Typically long exposures capture movement, defying photography’s claim of freezing the decisive moment in time. Lutter’s eight-hour exposure challenges this notion. The long exposure time erases all traces of movement. Fleeting in and out of the frame, the figures and cars do not leave imprints of their presence in the image. Lutter’s photograph speaks to the end of the industrial age — marking a pivotal point in Philadelphia’s history."

Excerpt from Colette Copeland's article "Taken with Time; A Camera Obscura Project with Ann Hamilton, Vera Lutter & Abelardo Morell." The Photo Review, Vol. 29, #1, 2010, pp. 7–9.