Leading photography school to feature railroad bridge

One of the nation’s top photography schools, the Rochester Institute of Technology, is featuring a railroad scene in its annual photography event. “The Big Shot” is an annual nighttime community photography project produced by RIT’s School of Photographic Arts & Sciences. Its 29th edition in February 2014 will feature the ex-New York Central bridge over the High Falls of the Genesee River in downtown Rochester, New York. While meetings with city of Rochester officials have already begun, planning is in the fledgling stages. The team’s biggest wish is to secure a vintage train—frozen in time—on the bridge above the falls. Past Big Shot subjects have included Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The Center looks forward to the results of the next Big Shot, which we will share here.

CSX’s ex-New York Central bridge over the High Falls of the Genesee River in downtown Rochester, New York, will be featured in the Rochester Institute of Technology’s 2014 Big Shot community photography project. Photograph by Michael Peres.

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.