The Railroad and the Art of Place: An Anthology

In The Railroad and the Art of Place: An Anthology, a team of thirty contemporary and historical photographers—whose work is displayed across eighteen portfolios—visually contemplate the visible and philosophical imprint of the railroad on the American landscape. Combined with lucid, literary essays by Kevin P. Keefe, former editor of Trains magazine, noted transportation historian Alexander B. Craghead, industrial historian Matt Kierstead, and the late Michael Flanagan (author of Stations: An Imaginary Journey) the book, conceived by David Kahler, is sure to set a new benchmark in the field of railroad photography and transportation studies.

Produced to the highest standards and featuring 230 color and black-and-white photographs, this deluxe 372-page book is printed on heavy stock and portrays a storied industrial culture in an entirely new context. Generously funded by the Kahler Family Charitable Fund.

$60 plus $5 for domestic shipping, hardcover, 11×11 inches, 372 pages, 230 photographs

 We are currently accepting preorders for shipping in August 2021. 

International shipping is available; please inquire by email at info [at] railphoto-art.org

Cover of the book "The Railroad and the Art of Place: An Anthology"

Beebe and Clegg: Their Enduring Photographic Legacy, with Mel Patrick and John Ryan

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
7:00-8:00 P.M. (U.S. Central), on Cisco Webex

Now Available on YouTube

Mel Patrick and John Ryan, authors of Beebe and Clegg: Their Enduring Photographic Legacy, have teamed up to present on one of the most legendary pairings in American railroad photography. Patrick and Ryan will present a more in depth view of their research, including the work contributed by the late John Gruber, to discuss Beebe and Clegg’s pioneering approach to railroad photography.

Mel Patrick is a Chicago native who moved to Denver in 1972. He received the 2011 Railway & Locomotive Historical Society photography award for lifetime achievement in railroad history. Patrick made synchronized night flash pictures from 1968 to 1973.

John Ryan is a skilled photographer whose work has been recognized by Railfan & Railroad Magazine in 2004 for its cover contest and in 2008 for its center spread contest. A railroad historian, he is also co-author of SLC at 100, a history of the San Luis Central Railroad in Colorado.

This event is free.
Beebe titled it “On the Outside Iron” but provided no details about this steam freight train on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s electrified main line in Maryland. Today, this is Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor. Photograph by Lucius Beebe. Collection of the California State Railroad Museum, BC3528.

Call for Submissions: Continuity & Change – Photographs of Railroads in the 21st Century

We’re looking for images that capture the essence of rail transportation in the 21st century. What does contemporary railroading look like? What aspects of rail transportation remain evergreen, recognizably connecting our world with the world of the past? What is new, exciting, different, hopeful, or full of promise? What has been irrevocably altered, or what is about to be? And, just as importantly, how do photographs help us see this world? 


We’re working on a book that answers these questions. We’re looking for photographs of railways in one of five subject categories:

  • Scale, distance, and landscape are important characteristics that help define railroads in North America, whether it is the size of locomotives and equipment, the length of trains, or the expansive natural landscapes they traverse. Show us how railroads struggle with the natural landscape, or how they compliment it. Give us images of trains 24/7/365, in every kind of weather, and every kind of landscape. 
  • Work on the move. What does the path of commerce look like? How does cargo originate, how does it get where it needs to go? Who does the work? Which commodities are fading, which are going strong? Show us what the railways do, what they carry, how, and who makes it all move. 
  • Passenger railroading. From Amtrak at fifty years old, to the subways, commutes, and light rail trains that knit together North American cities, to new passenger rail systems under construction coast to coast, show us images that capture what passenger railroading means. We welcome images from any kind of service, especially when they show how vital passenger trains are to everyday life. 
  • While we are primarily looking for photographs from North American locations, we’re also interested in images of international exchange. We’re looking for photos made anywhere in the world that help put North American railways and rail practices in a global context, or help illustrate how the products that North American trains carry are part of a worldwide network of trade. 
  • The Holdouts. Is that old hometown railroad still running? The “Rust Belt” may be rusty, but what is still alive? Show us those surprising survivors, those anachronisms that still hang on, the things that are on the way out, and what’s about to disappear. 

We’re interested in photography that communicates the present moment as elegantly as possible. We’re open to a wide variety of styles, from unusual perspectives to unusual techniques, to straightforward approaches. What matters is that your photos, in the spirit of photojournalism, tell us stories about railroading now. We would especially like images that could not have been in any other time than our own, whether because of the subject, or the way they were made, or both.

You may submit up to twenty (20) images in total that fit one or more of these themes. You may wish to submit a broad sample, or a selection that tightly focuses on a single subject; What matters most is the quality of the images and how well they respond to one or more of the themes above. Images must have been made in or after the year 2000, and we especially prefer images made since the Great Recession of 2008. For full consideration, please get us your submission by April 2nd.


Submission Process

To participate, please submit the following materials to submissions@railphoto-art.org:

  • Up to twenty (20) images
  • Basic captions with location, date, and basic information
  • Optional supplemental text with additional caption information, context, or anything else you think we ought to know about about how your photographs respond to the themes. 
  • Contact information: Your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number

Electronic submissions only. Files can be sent via email, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc.

Captions, optional supplemental text, and contact information may be sent in a document (Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or PDF) or in the body of an email.

Images should be high-resolution jpegs with a pixel dimension of at least 3000 on one side. 

Send all submissions by April 2, 2021 to submissions@railphoto-art.org


An autorack train speeds past the Gerald Grain Center on the outskirts of Archbold, Ohio, in August 2019. Photograph by Francis Byrne.

The Center will publish selected images in a future book project, and may also use images in its journal, Railroad Heritage, online, or in another appropriate format. The Center reserves the right to retain electronic copies for future publication, use on website, Facebook and other social media, or for public exhibition. In all cases, the photographer retains the copyright to the image.

The Art of Dining on Rails: Presented by Jay W. Christopher & Anne Lapinski

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
7:00-8:00 P.M. (U.S. Central), on Cisco Webex

Now Available on YouTube
The Christopher Transportation Museum is home to Jay Christopher’s personal collection of airline, shipline, railroad, and airship artifacts that preserve the history of transportation dining starting in the late 1800s. The dining artifacts along with the accompanying collections tell a broad story of early travel and preserve significant history in their aesthetic design and fabrication.
 
The railroad collection at the Christopher Transportation Museum is the museum’s first and largest collection. The railroad collection presents a sweeping narrative that touches on many aspects of early railroading in the United States and abroad. The museum’s collection allows visitors to get a first-hand look at what it was like to work, travel, and, most importantly to eat aboard these illustrious trains.
 
The Christopher Transportation Museum and the Center for Railroad Photography & Art invites you to join us as we explore the museum’s collection in the upcoming presentation, “The Art of Dining on Rails.”
 
Jay W. Christopher, Historical Collector, The Christopher Transportation Museum
 
Anne Lapinski, Collection Curator and Manager, The Christopher Transportation Museum
 
This event is free.

 

 

 

 
 
View of the railroad dining car collection at the Jay W. Christopher Transportation Museum. Photograph by Anne Lapinski.

The Iron Road to the Deep North: Japanese Railways of Hokkaido, Then and Now

Wednesday, January 6, 2021
7:00-8:00 P.M. (U.S. Central), on Cisco Webex

Now Available on YouTube
Victor Hand traveled to Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island, in 1966 and 1971 in search of steam locomotives.
 
Scott Lothes lived in Hokkaido from 2005 to 2007 where he taught English and rode trains all over the island. His presentation uses Hand’s photography, which is now part of the Center’s collection, as well as Lothes’s more recent views, to explore Hokkaido and its fascinating railways. The tracks cling to rugged coastlines, climb spectacular mountains, and have undergone many changes in the decades between Hand’s and Lothes’s visits.
 
Lothes, President and Executive Director of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, joined the Center’s staff in 2008. He is a regular contributor to Trains, Railfan and Railroad, and other railroad publications, with more than fifty bylined articles and some 500 photographs in print.
 
This event is free.
A Japanese National Railways D52 locomotive steams south with a freight train at Onuma, Hokkaido, in January 1971 beneath snow-covered Komagatake. Photograph by Victor Hand, Hand-JNR-C18-01.
 
A JR Hokkaido “Super Hokuto” Limited Express train rolls along Uchiura (“Volcano”) Bay near Date, Hokkaido, in June 2007 with Komagatake in the background at left. Photograph by Scott Lothes.