Behind the Photographs of O. Winston Link – Thomas Garver

Monday, July 18, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom
Registration closes on Sunday, July 17 at 4:30 p.m. (CST)

Now Available on YouTube

Thomas Garver, the former assistant/agent of Link and the founding curator of the O. Winston Link Museum, will present Behind the Photographs of O. Winston Link. Garver will discuss the life and work of Link as well as his remarkable photographs of the Norfolk & Western Railroad.


Thomas H. Garver is a retired art museum director, writer, and independent curator. In 1957-58, just out of college, he worked for O. Winston Link as a part-time assistant in Link’s New York City studio. Part of his assistantship included three trips, totaling about a month, to Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina to aid Link in the creation of his visionary five-year documentation of the Norfolk and Western Railway at the end of steam power on the line.

Tom Garver assisted Winston Link in the field, and subsequently contributed a chapter to Link’s first book, Steam, Steel & Stars, published in 1987. Tom was the sole author of the text for the second book of Link’s railroad photos, The Last Steam Railroad in America, published in 1995. In 1994, Garver became Link’s business agent, and following Link’s death in 2001, Garver served as organizing curator of the O. Winston Link Museum, located in the former N&W passenger station in Roanoke, Virginia. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

This event is free.




Train #2 arrives at the Waynesboro Station, Waynesboro, Virgnia, April 14, 1955. Courtesy of the O. Winston Link Museum.

Richard Steinheimer Collection acquired by Center

One of Richard Steinheimer’s most iconic images, and a perfect display of his daredevil feats: Milwaukee Road “Little Joe” electric locomotive no. E77 is captured at speed under moonlight in the Bitterroot Mountains eastbound from Avery, Idaho, in December 1973. Stein placed his camera on the nose of the trailing SD40-2 and hung on in the cold to make time exposures.


Iconic photographer’s work joins North America’s largest archive of significant railroad photography and artwork

MADISON, WI / June 13, 2022 — The Center for Railroad Photography & Art announced today that it has acquired the majority of the photography collection of Richard Steinheimer, one of the world’s greatest rail photographers, who blazed a trail of creativity across California and the American West for six decades and inspired generations of photographers. The collection includes nearly all of Steinheimer’s color photography, a vast collection of his majestic black and white prints, plus black and white negatives and scans, exhibition prints, and more.

“This is truly a monumental event in the Center’s history,” said Scott Lothes, executive director of the Center. “From the day I joined the staff in 2008, I have hoped the Center could be the steward for Stein’s photography, and I know our founder, John Gruber, also held that hope. We now have the ability to preserve and share his work thanks to the trust of Shirley Burman Steinheimer, Stein’s widow, partner, soulmate, and keeper of his tremendous visual legacy. We’re grateful for the incredible generosity of our board of directors and donors – foremost Bon French and Rich Tower, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, and everyone who has ever supported our efforts.”

The Center has received nearly all of Steinheimer’s color photography, which comprises about 30,000 slides, as well as a significant selection of black and white prints and scans spanning his entire career, plus black and white negatives circa 1975 and later. Additional ancillary materials will come at a later date. The collection joins an already-impressive list of significant American photographers whose work is preserved by the Center, now in its 25th year, and shared with the public through its quarterly magazine Railroad Heritage, a book publishing series, an annual conference, traveling exhibitions, social media, online presentations, and more. Exclusive member programs are being planned.

Richard Steinheimer was only 23 when he snapped this timeless portrait of Southern Pacific no. 2700 and crew on the westbound San Diego & Arizona train no. 451 at Dos Cabezas, Calif.

Steinheimer was born on August 23, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois, and died from Alzheimer’s Disease on May 4, 2011 in Sacramento, California, where his wife and photography partner Shirley Burman Steinheimer still resides. A team from the Center led by archivist Adrienne Evans gathered at the Sacramento home in early June and prepared the collection for transportation to the Center’s archive in Madison, Wisconsin, where it has safely arrived.

Heather Sonntag, Ph.D., associate archivist, will take the lead on processing the Steinheimer Collection supported by Elrond Lawrence and Ken Rehor, lifelong Stein devotees who were part of the collection team in Sacramento.

“With this milestone achievement, combined with the Ronald C. Hill Collection in 2020 and recent agreements to acquire collections from California photography legends Tom Gildersleeve, Gordon Glattenberg, and Stan Kistler, the Center has assembled a world-class collection of western North American railroad photography,” said Lothes.

Steinheimer’s life and work

“Stein” shook up the world of traditional railroad photography in the 1940s and 1950s with a wholly unique style that included daring action images that leaped out of the camera frame and sweeping panoramas that captured trains in their environments, from magnificent Donner Pass and the stark Mojave Desert to bustling cities, railroad yards, and small rural towns. With a lanky six-foot, six-inch frame, the master of light and composition was fueled by a passionate – and sometimes manic – pursuit of dynamic images, but his true secret weapons were a friendly, humble, and infectious personality and his engaging smile. His demeanor helped him connect with people to make countless soulful portraits of railroaders, rail passengers, and everyday Americans from a vanished era.

In dozens of landmark books and in the pages of Trains magazine and others, he narrated his sprawling photographic essays with lively, joyful writing that celebrated the railroad experience and invited viewers to jump in their car —or board a train – and vicariously join Stein on his latest adventure.

His black and white work is timeless and striking, and his transition to color transparency film provided a new canvas with which to play, reaching new levels of creativity and storytelling with light and mood and the changing colors of western railroads in the 1970s and 1980s. For decades, while creating watershed railroad projects, he was in high demand as an innovative Silicon Valley photographer, shooting for Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Apple, and other pioneering technology companies.

In 1983 he met fellow photographer Shirley Burman, and their love story created a formidable partnership that thrived for nearly two decades. Together they worked on projects for Southern Pacific, Amtrak, TTX Corp., the California State Railroad Museum, and other clients. Since his passing, Burman Steinheimer has cared for his image collection and legacy; she is currently completing a book about women in railroading and her photography collection is anticipated to join Stein’s work at the Center at a later date.

More information about the Steinheimer Collection, his legacy, and future image requests will be shared at the Center’s website. For more information about this announcement please contact Elrond Lawrence, acquisitions and marketing coordinator, at elrond(a)

The Center’s team (from left) Elrond Lawrence, Adrienne Evans, and Ken Rehor (right) worked with Shirley Burman Steinheimer at her Sacramento home in early June to prepare and ship the Steinheimer Collection.

Railroad Landscapes – John Sanderson

Tuesday, June 28, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom
Registration closes on Monday, June 27 at 4:30 p.m. (CST)

Now Available on YouTube

John Sanderson will discuss the origins and progress of his on-going photographic series titled Railroad Landscapes. This project explores the territory adjacent to America’s railways using large format film cameras. An ongoing project since 2009, this work has taken him throughout the United States in search of photographs. Along the way, Sanderson has captured the unique way the American railroad bisects cities, towns, countryside and vast wilderness. The project deliberately leaves the train out of the picture, reflecting instead, as Sanderson says “on the landscape as something independent of its intended use.”


John Sanderson is drawn to broad topographical subjects within the United States. It is in the outdoors that he feels most creative. His photographs reconcile American motives of impermanence, and expansion within the contemporary landscape. His projects include themes such as transportation, leisure, residence, industry, and decay. The influence of growing up in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan underpins much of Sanderson’s work, which is rooted in a passion for architectural design. He captures photographs for each project with multiple large format film cameras as well as smaller digital cameras as needed. Sanderson’s photographs have been featured in a variety of publications such as: PDN Magazine, Slate Magazine, BBC News, The Wall Street Journal, Lenscratch, and NBC News. Two projects, Fallen Flags and Railroad Landscapes, have been the subject of several solo and group exhibitions. His work resides in a number of private and public collections including the Figge Museum of Art, MTA Metro North Railroad, New York Transit Museum, Center for Railroad Photography & Art, and the special collection libraries of the International Center of Photography, Amon Carter Museum, and UC Berkeley. Zatara Press published his Carbon County project in 2019.


This event is free.


Grain Elevator, Sayre, OK


John Sanderson

The Art of Railroading from the Grohmann Museum Collection

Tuesday, March 1, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom
Registration closes on Monday, February 28 at 4:30 p.m. (CST)

Now Available on YouTube

James Kieselburg, director of the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) will share a survey of railroad images, including prints, photographs, paintings, and sculpture, from the museum’s collection.


James Kieselburg is the Director at the Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering. James has spent the past 20+ years at the Museums of Beloit College, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University, and MSOE. He is the curator of several recent exhibitions including STEEL: Photographs by David Plowden, The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, and The Two Edmunds. He has also published numerous books, essays and articles for the Grohmann Museum, The Society for Industrial Archeology, and even the Center for Railroad Photography and Art.  His scholarly pursuits focus on museum design, the art of industry, Regionalist and Precisionist painting, and the sociology of work.


This event is free.

Railroad Workers (Adzing for Tie Plates). Leonhard Sandrock, ca. 1910. From the collection of Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering
James Kieselburg, director at the Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering

Postcards from my Seventy-Two Year Vacation – A Conversation with Mitch Markovitz

Tuesday, February 8, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom
Registration closes on Monday, February 7 at 4:30 p.m. (CDT)

Now Available on YouTube

Painter Mitch Markovitz will discuss his lifelong love of railroad art from his earliest memories of visiting the Illinois Central’s Grand Crossing station with his mother to running trains by the same station forty years later as an engineer. Now a revered artist, the themes of his works tend to focus on the world of railroading – not just trains but life in railroad situations – through the medium of oil paint.

In this program Mitch will deliver a thirty-minute presentation on his art and then we will open the floor for a long-form Q&A session. Attendees will have the opportunity to unmute and ask their questions live.  


Mitch Markovitz was born on the south side of Chicago and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in the arts and railroading. He attended the American Academy of Art and the Chicago Academy of Fine Art before being hired out to the Chicago and North Western Railroad in 1969 at first as a brakeman and later a suburban ticket collector and passenger service trainman. Mitch’s role in the railroad industry has been robust with him holding a large variety of positions, including fireman, hostler, engineer, Amtrak ticket clerk, conductor, service coordinator, and chef. From 1984 to 1999 he served as the art and creative director, assistant passenger traffic manager, trainman, and engineer for the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railway. Today he channels his vast experience of railroading into oil paintings as a commissioned artist. He has also authored the publication “How to Draw and Paint Trains Like a Pro,” and co-authored “Moonlight in Duneland.”

This event is free.