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Charles Sheeler, American, 1883–1965, Ford Plant River Rouge, Metal Shear, 1927; gelatin silver print. Courtesy the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Lane Collection.

In this photograph, Sheeler was shooting from the catwalk above.He focused directly on the shear, centralizing the form and creating an uncluttered composition. The shear was a huge machine that cut up sections of scrap brought to the Rouge by salvage ships. The metal was either melted down in the foundry or mixed in the open-hearth furnaces with molten iron and other materials to make steel.