Whether promoting industry or seeking to appeal to potential customers, photographers were willing participants in visualizing the American march of progress. Railroads increasingly sought to attract passengers with photographs that advertised the picturesque beauty of the countryside their locomotives traversed. Photographs were widely exhibited in hotel lobbies and railroad terminals and used for promotional purposes in newspaper advertisements, postcards, route books, and other materials. Throughout these latter decades of the century, photographers took a largely positive vision of industry. And photographs themselves played a part in the dramatic reshaping of the landscape — as in the case of those made by Henry Peter Bosse during a mapmaking survey to assess plans for improving navigation on the Mississippi River.
The Altered Landscape: 1870s–1890s