Conveyance: 2024 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program


con·vey·ance: the action or process of transporting someone or something from one place to another

NOTE: The submission deadline has passed. Awards will be announced on August 1st.

From the beginning of time, humans have devised conveyance mechanisms to move themselves and goods from one place to another. Since the invention of the steam engine, railroads have evolved into an essential mode of transport that touches many aspects of daily life, whether a commute to work or the delivery of goods to a place of residence–chances are a railroad has been part of the journey.

The 2024 John E Gruber Creative Photography Awards theme explores the idea of conveyance as it applies to all aspects of railroading. Contestants are asked to interpret the theme as creatively as possible.

Participants are welcome to submit up to 3 images in either color and/or black-and-white format. Digital and film images are acceptable. However, film images should be submitted as scans in JPG format with one side of the image at least 1500 pixels. Digital manipulation of the images is acceptable but not required.

Submission deadline: May 15, 2024
Awards notification: August 1, 2024

Submission Process

Submission Process

Applicants must submit:

  • Up to 3 images in either color and/or black-and-white, must include location, date, and basic caption information
  • Mailing Address
  • Email Address

Images should be submitted as high-resolution jpegs with a pixel dimension of at least 1500 px on one side.

Electronic submissions only. No watermarks.

Files can be sent via email, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc.

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 submission deadline has passed. Winners will be announced on August 1st.


Disclaimer: Trespassing along railroad rights-of-ways is illegal and the leading cause of rail-related deaths in the United States. The CRP&A discourages trespassing for this contest and retains the right to disqualify any photographs deemed dangerous in content.



  • First place, $750
  • Second place, $500
  • Third place, $250
  • Judges Also Liked, one-year subscription to Railroad Heritage


The Center will publish the winners in the Fall 2024 issue of Railroad Heritage, and Railfan & Railroad magazine will publish the winners in a fall issue. An exhibition of the winning photographs will also be displayed at the Colorado Railroad Museum.

About the Program

Noted photographer, author, editor, and preservationist of railroads, John E. Gruber (1936-2018) of Madison, Wisconsin, was honored on April 14, 2012, by the board of directors of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art—an organization of which he was the principal founder—by having the Center’s awards program named for him.

Now the John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program, the competitive program started in 2002. It is devoted exclusively to contemporary railroad photography and attracts hundreds of entrants annually from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Winning photographs are published in the Center’s journal, Railroad Heritage® and in Railfan & Railroad magazine, and appear on this website.

Gruber was a photography and preservation activist in the railroad community since 1960. His own photography was published widely, especially in Trains Magazine. In 1994, the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society presented Gruber with its Fred A. and Jane R. Stindt Photography Award. From 1995-99, Gruber edited Vintage Rails. In 1997 his intense interest in both photography and preservation, and his concern about the welfare and longevity of amateur and professional photographers’ work, led him to organize the founding of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.

As an author Gruber wrote Classic Steam, edited Railroaders: Jack Delano’s Homefront Photography (published by the Center in 2014), and co-authored several other volumes of railroad-related images. His final publication was Beebe & Clegg: Their Enduring Photographic Legacy, published by the Center in 2018. The book serves as an enduring testament to Gruber’s detailed research, passion, and lasting significance in the field of railroad photography.

John Gruber, founder of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. Photograph by Henry A. Koshollek