Help Us Showcase More Art

Results from our artists’ survey are already impressive, with more than 150 responses to date. You can help us feature more of these artists’ work by making a special donation to expand the next issue of Railroad Heritage. Our budget allows for a twenty-four-page issue, with fourteen pages slotted for the art feature. With an extra $500, we can add four pages; with $1,000, we can add twelve pages. Donate now to help us feature as much artwork as possible!

Thanks for helping distribute the survey go to several of our friends and members, and especially to Peter Mosse, David Plowden, Jim Porterfield and the American Society of Railway Artists. Their assistance in this effort has been a great value, and we thank them. If you are an artist who approaches railroad subjects in mediums other than photography and have not yet filled out our survey, please do so by the end of the month.

Painting of a steam train excursion
Matt Kierstead, Nevins Yard, Framingham, Massachussetts. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches, 1985.

2013 Call for Artists & Survey

Are you an artist? Do you make works of art—paintings, drawings, sculpture, or any other sort of art other than photographs—that depict railroads in some way? If so, we’d like to hear from you.

We are working on a special issue of our journal, Railroad Heritage, dedicated to non-photographic artwork. We want to explore what types of railroad-related artwork are presently being made, and share some of that with our members. To help us do this we’ve created a survey. Artists who respond to it may have an opportunity to have their artwork featured in this special issue.

If you yourself are an artist working in a medium other than photography, please fill out our survey. If you are not yourself an artist, but you know of artists who depict, even rarely, railways in their work, please feel free to pass them on to the survey link.

If you choose to participate, thank you very much!

Painting of a steam train excursion
Alexander B. Craghead, “The Excursion.” Watercolor on paper, 11 x 15 inches, 2000. (Collection of the artist).

Remembering Jim Koglin

Memorial Day weekend 2013 brought sadness to the Center, with the loss of long-time member and friend James R. “Jim” Koglin of Harrison Township, Michigan. He passed away at his home on Sunday, May 26. Born in Detroit on December 11, 1938, Jim graduated from Denby High School in 1957. After living in the city for more than 40 years, Jim settled in Harrison Township, 25 miles northeast of Detroit on Anchor Bay. A lifelong aircraft enthusiast, Jim was an avionics mechanic for the Air National Guard from 1957 to 1994. He served as a camera repairman and weapons control technician on many fighter planes, including the F-86, F-89, F-94, RF-84, RF-101, F-106, F-4 and F-16. He became a volunteer at the Selfridge Military Air Museum in 2003.

The “Kog,” as his friends called him, was known for his love of photography, which extended from planes to trains, lakeboats, lighthouses and grist mills. He spent many an hour along the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers photographing the lake freighters. Jim also pursued railroad photography extensively, with a special love for steam and particularly the former Rio Grande narrow gauge lines in Colorado, which he visited more than 25 times.

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 22 years, Sher; sister, Susan (Grady) Whatley; niece, Susan (John) Mayer; and grandnephew, Josh. Visitation and services will be held at the William R. Hamilton Funeral Home, Mount Clemens on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 from 2-8 p.m., with services the following day, Thursday, May 30, at 10:30 a.m.

Virginia & Truckee no. 29Virginia & Truckee steam locomotive no. 29 in Nevada in 2012. Photograph by Jim Koglin
Jim Koglin, 1938-2013Jim Koglin, 1938-2013. Photograph by Jim Thomas

Celebrating 150 Years of Railroad Labor

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) was founded as the Brotherhood of the Footboard in Detroit, Michigan, on May 8, 1863. The union—the nation’s earliest—has represented the interests of its members for 150 years and is celebrating that history with an anniversary meeting in Detroit on May 8, 2013. Sponsored by the North American Railway Foundation (NARF), the Center for Railroad Photography & Art attended and brought its traveling exhibition, “Still a World Apart: 150 Years of Railroaders at Work.”

The exhibit showcases the lives and stories of railroad workers, and it includes a preview of the Center’s “Faces of Chicago’s Railroad Community: Photographs by Jack Delano” exhibition. That project is also sponsored by NARF and opens at the Chicago History Museum on April 4, 2014.

The Center congratulates the BLET on 150 years and thanks the NARF for its ongoing support of the Center’s exhibitions, publications, and programs. See more photographs from the anniversary meeting on the Center’s Flickr site.

BLET members viewing the Center's exhibitionAttendees of the 150th anniversary of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, held in Detroit, Michigan, viewing the Center’s exhibition, “Still a World Apart: 150 Years of Railroaders at Work,” sponsored by the North American Railway Foundation.
The History of the BLETCenter member John Fasulo’s iconic image, “The Engineer,” is featured on a special publication about the 150-year history of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

Raves Resound for 2013 Conference

Record attendance of 170, exceptionally well-received presentations, and a flurry of congratulatory emails marked the Center’s 2013 Conversations about Photography conference at Lake Forest College, April 12-14. Sponsors included host Lake Forest College, Trains and Classic Trains, Canon, Railfan & Railroad, Leoni Engineering, and the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. Twenty of the Center’s members supported the event as patrons.

The conference was number eleven for the Center, and “the best ever for me,” according to photographer John Fasulo of Beacon, New York. He added, “The ‘out of the box’ presentations broke new ground and were thought-provoking. Bravo!”

One regular attendee congratulated the Center on “a fantastic mix of subjects.” And he reminded us that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. “The sleeper hit for me was the Stations presentation. When I saw it in the program I didn’t expect much, as I’m not familiar with the book and the title doesn’t give much hint as to what’s inside. But Matt Kierstead’s enthusiasm for the subject, as well as his detailed analysis of what the author [Michael Flanagan] was trying to get at, made for a really compelling presentation, and I’ll be on Amazon today to place my order.”

During the Center’s report on its 2012-13 activities, founder John Gruber and his family were introduced. (Grandson Martin Gruber was on hand and seems to have contracted the railroad bug, as has his uncle, Dick Gruber, John and Bonnie Gruber’s older son. Wife Bonnie and granddaughter Tamara were also on hand.) The audience gave John a two-minute standing ovation in recognition of his establishing the Center, founding its Railroad Heritage journal, launching the Conversations conference, and presenting nearly innumerable exhibitions and other publications. Scott Lothes, Gruber’s successor, noted that everyone looks forward to continuing contributions from John.

A thirty-page, full-color program contained examples of works featured in the presentations and exhibitions, providing attendees with an instant souvenir and collectible. (Before you know it, copies will appear on eBay.)

Presenter Pablo Delano, who talked about the work of his father, Jack Delano, noted that he “got a lot of warm, heartfelt feedback.” The Center received several written comments from attendees who are looking forward to the Center’s forthcoming Chicago History Museum exhibition featuring the elder Delano’s portraits of Chicago railroaders taken in 1942-43. It opens April 4, 2014, and the Center is working on ways to incorporate a visit to the exhibition and a special program about it for the 2014 conference.

Michael Froio, a photographer from Williamstown, New Jersey, and also a presenter, remarked “It is exciting to be a part of a community that has such a diverse approach to celebrating our railroads through art and photography.” David Lester, a transportation historian and writer from Atlanta, said, “Great selection of presenters this year, and I particularly enjoyed the railroad journalism panel discussion.” Lester also congratulated the Center on “all of the hard work that went into this.”

Hyde Perce of Kenilworth, Illinois, seconded the endorsement of the arrangements and added praise for Lake Forest College’s cuisine: “I have to sign up for next year just to get my annual ‘fix’ of pecan rolls.” He also noted the conference’s general conviviality: “One of the really fun things I enjoy is just meeting conference attendees. Such a nice group of people.”

George Hamlin, a transportation consultant from Fairfax, Virginia, best stated a common sentiment: “Pat yourselves on the back, relax for a brief period, and then move on to more outstanding efforts.”

Just what the Center plans to do.

Matt Kierstead
The “sleeper hit” of the 2013 conference for many attendees was Matt Kierstead’s deconstruction of the book Stations: An Imagined Journey, by Michael Flanagan. Photograph by Hank Koshollek. See more photographs on the Center’s Flickr site.