Winners of the 2014 Gruber Awards: Lasting Impressions


The theme of the 2014 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program was “Lasting Impressions,” and all of the images, from ninety photographers, live up to exceed it. The Center asked for photographs that leave lasting impressions, photography worthy of display on a living room wall or even a museum. Here you have the selections of the judges to enjoy.

First place went to Eric Williams, Millburn, New Jersey, for a stunning night view of the Chicago elevated (top image at right). Matthew Malkiewicz, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, received second place for a holiday card-like photograph of a steam train in the snow (middle right); third went to Dennis Livesey, New York City, for three images representing the fascination of the city (lower right).

“We were encouraged to see the high quality of the entries continue,” said one of the judges. “Railroad photography is alive and well these days. Photographers are innovative, using light in new and unusual ways. The rare back and white entries are standouts.”

“As in 2013, it was an exciting contest for three of us to judge, with entries from very creative photographers,” said John Gruber, a Center founder. “It is gratifying to see how railroad photography continues to be exciting in new and creative says.” While the judges struggled with the difficult task of picking only three images for the first, second, and third place winners, they saw no losers among the entries.

First place receives $500 and a 13×19 printer from co-sponsor Canon. Second place receives $300, and third place receives $200. Complimentary one-year subscriptions to the Center’s quarterly journal, Railroad Heritage, go to all who received honorable mentions.

The Center will publish the winners and a selection of images the “Judges Also Liked” in Railroad Heritage (Spring 2015), as will Railfan & Railroad in its March 2015 issue. The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento will host an exhibition with most of the photographs. All honorable mentions are online.

First prize: Eric Williams

Second Place: Matthew Malkiewicz
Second prize: Matthew Malkiewicz

Third Place: Dennis Livesey
Third prize: Dennis Livesey

First Prize

Eric Williams

First Place: Eric Williams

Judges’ Comments
The location is in Chicago’s Loop above the intersection of Lake and Wells Streets, originally built in 1900, modified numerous times and known as both CTA Tower 18 and Junction 18. Although we’ve seen spot this photographed many times before, the image has the combination of framing, light, color, and a slow shutter speed depiction of train movement that creates a terrific feel for the fascinating elevated tracks and trains.

About the Photographer
Eric Williams ( lives in Mlllburn, New Jersey, trained in industrial design, and works in Manhattan as a creative director. Born in Illinois, he moved frequently as his father was in the Air Force, which exposed him to a wide range of regions and railroads. These experiences instilled love of travel and history, and he tries to put regional context into his images.

Williams has had a lifelong love for trains and railroading, and he began photographing them at age 15. High school photography classes helped hone his skills, and he shot primarily black-and-white film until the digital revolution. Early influences included Steinheimer and Ted Benson. Williams was the grand prize winner in the 2011 Railfan & Railroad Centerspread Competition, and he received an honorable mention in 2010. He also received second prize in the Center’s 2012 program and in Trains Photo competitions of 1997 and 1998, along with Trains runner-up award in the 2009 contest.

Second Prize

Matthew Malkiewicz

Second Place: Matthew Malkiewicz

Judges’ Comments
This could be a Christmas card painting. An East Broad Top Railroad steam train with open platform, wood-side coaches moving through a rural winter scene in Pennsylvania with fresh falling snow framed by trees and a road curving out of sight.

About the Photographer
Matthew Malkiewicz resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, where he is the senior designer for an instrumentation/electrical/process control engineering firm. Born in New Jersey, he has also lived in California and Colorado, which ignited the drive to travel and capture the country’s modern-day tourist steam operations. Vacations are now planned around and spent photographing special railroad related events, private train photo charters, and historical places.

Malkiewicz’s fascination with trains started at the age of four months by watching a toy train run around the Christmas tree; he has been hooked ever since. Completely self-taught—first with 35mm and medium format film and more recently digital cameras and Photoshop—creating timeless images has become a passionate hobby. Early influences include Don Ball, Jack Delano, and Mallory Hope Ferrell; lately Zack Arias. Matthew was the third prize B&W winner in the Center’s 2012 Awards Program, and he has recently been featured on the CNN International, Weather Channel, DPReview and SLR Lounge websites, and published in Trains and Shutterbug magazines.

His entire portfolio can be viewed at: “Lost Tracks of Time.”

Third Prize

Dennis Livesey

Third Place: Dennis Livesey

Judges’ Comments
These three photographs comprise an engaging collection of images from the New York City area:

Above: F train at Smith and 9th St Station, Brooklyn

Right: Grand Central Terminal and Chrysler Building, Manhattan

Below: The number 7 subway 40th Street Station, Sunnyside, Queens

The GCT image is reminiscent of classic B&W photography of earlier times.

About the Photographer
Dennis Livesey has pursued his twin passions of trains and photography ever since he could look at a Lucius Beebe book or hold a camera. While making a living as a cinematographer, he chased trains wherever and whenever he could. See more of his work at:

Third Place: Dennis Livesey

Third Place: Dennis Livesey

Judges Also Liked