Color image of a train car against a railing with water in the background; figures balancing objects on their heads walk toward the viewer's left

Untitled (44UN-7909-072), Togoland (Togo), 1958

Todd Webb

Archival pigment print

Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive L2020.85.65

Not on View

Images of thriving seaports supported the United Nations’ goal of illustrating the impact of industrialization upon the economies of diverse African nations. This striking photograph of a freight car waiting on the tracks near a port in Togo signals the increasing density of the infrastructure of trade, layering railways upon cargo ships just visible in the distance. The open doors on both sides of the car frame the water and sky beyond, creating an immediate connection between the land (and its resources) and waterways to distant ports. Five figures bearing wares in baskets, however, remind the viewer of the distinctions between the transportation of goods on a local scale and this region’s longstanding trade relations—stretching over millennia—with far-flung economies in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Image: In Copyright. Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive

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