A 19th Century dam and waterfall on the Charles River, in Waltham, Massachusetts, changed the course of American history. The rushing water powered the first modern industrial corporation, an integrated textile mill that took in raw cotton at one end, and shipped finished cloth from the other. In all respects—capitalization, technology, governance, personnel—the Boston Manufacturing Company set a standard for the country to follow.
This far-sighted enterprise was the work of a small group of wealthy Boston businessmen, led by Francis Cabot Lowell. The mill began operations in 1814. At its heart were water-powered looms, the first of their kind on this side of the Atlantic, devised by a self-taught genius, Paul Moody.
The original dam was long ago replaced, of course, but the original mill building still stands, now given over to subsidized apartments. This is a famous and inspiring story; to learn more, and see photos of a reconstructed power loom, click here.
By this series, I wanted to memorialize a great historic event. By doing so in black-and-white, I had hoped to avoid the superficiality of color. To paraphrase the great Canadian photojournalist, Ted Grant, "When you photograph a place in color, you photograph its trappings. But when you photograph a place in black-and-white, you photograph its soul."