While on assignment from the Farm Security Administration to document the changing railroad industry, Jack Delano arrived in Chicago’s Union Station, one of the biggest transportation hubs in the country. This iteration of Union Station—the second to be built in that location—opened not even twenty years before Delano came to photograph it in early 1943. The station was designed by renowned architect Daniel Burnham, who famously said, “Make no small plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood”. His quote certainly stands true for Union Station, which was hailed upon its opening as an outstanding achievement in railroad facility planning, and as one of the great interior public spaces of the United States. Its Great Hall, what Delano refers to as “the waiting room”, was designed in the ornate Beaux-Arts style, with massive wooden benches arranged in the room for travelers to rest on while waiting for connections.
Though the space itself was beautiful, only someone with an exceptionally gifted photographer's eye could capture it so stunningly. Delano’s background in painting served him well throughout his time at the FSA, but it comes across especially clearly in this striking image of Union Station. Ordinary commuters are elevated to actors in a impressive play, spears of light dramatically penetrating the scene and outlining or spotlighting them. Delano was not only capturing the railroad industry—he was making photographs of a nation in the middle of war. The prominence of the arrows in the foreground, the hallowed feeling of the light, seem to outline an optimistic future for the common man waiting below.
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available
Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.
Innova Fibaprint Warm Cotton Gloss
8"x8" | edition of 20
11"x11" | edition of 100
16"x16" | edition of 50
24"x24" | edition of 10