The Role of Technology: 2023 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program

The 2023 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program theme is The Role of Technology. This year’s theme will explore how technology has shaped—and continues to inform— how railroads operate, look and perform across time, place and season. Photographers are encouraged to visually interpret the theme expressing how technology impacts the evolving nature of railroads.  

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 1, 2023

Awards notification: August 1, 2023

Learn more:

Metra Bi-level Cab Car – Push Pull Technology, 2015. Photograph by Todd Halamka.

Virtual Conversations 2022

Saturday, November 19, 2022
11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom / 9-12:30pm PT / 12-3:20 pm ET

All recordings available on YouTube

Virtual Conversations returns on Saturday, November 19 with a loaded half-day roster of exceptional presenters.

This event is free.


Brice Douglas, “More Than Just a Train” | 11:15 am CT

Douglas’ presentation will take the audience behind-the-scenes of what it means to be a “boomer,” a seasonal railroad worker that takes jobs across the US. Along the way, he’ll also take a closer look at the remnants of the Milwaukee Road Lines West forty years post-abandonment and offer a glimpse of the Alaska Railroad, which is preparing for its 100th anniversary in 2023. Douglas will showcase the people and machinery that keep the wheels rolling up north in the Last Frontier.

 Brice Douglas is a fifth generation railroader, currently working for the Alaska Railroad as a conductor.  At only twenty-eight years old, he has spent the last decade as a “boomer” working seasonal train service jobs on railroads throughout the United States. He enjoys photography, backcountry camping, and documenting history. He has a special passion for the two-lane roads that crisscross rural America as well as his beloved dog that travels everywhere with him – Miss Montana Red.


 CRP&A Collections Update | 12:00 pm CT

Archivist Adrienne Evans will present updates on the Railroad Heritage Visual Archive, featuring new accessions and recent progress on processing the John Gruber, John Illman, David Mainey, Henry Posner, and Jim Shaughnessy collections. Associate Archivist Heather Sonntag will join her later on in the presentation to discuss processing highlights from Richard Steinheimer’s phenomenal slides and prints.


Emily Moser, “Sweden’s Colorful Cave Stations” | 1:00 pm CT

Many transit systems have introduced public art to their stations, but none may be as notable as the 65.7-mile-long Stockholm Tunnelbana, known as “the world’s longest art exhibition.” A remarkable 95 percent of the system’s stations have some type of art found within, but the most well-known are the brightly painted cave stations, whose unique designs have become a signature of the Tunnelbana.

Emily Moser has a lifelong passion for railroads and their environment, especially stations and their architecture and artwork. As an amblyope born with diminished visual acuity, her work focuses on the camera as an alternate eye, capturing the world in HDR and long exposures, beyond what a human eye would be capable. Moser has traveled the world in her pursuit of interesting subjects, from Japan’s cat trains to the partially abandoned railway running through the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, and has operated the railroad themed blog “I Ride the Harlem Line” since 2008. She plans to publish a book on the definitive history of the New York and Harlem Railroad “one of these days.


Andrew Lynch, “Mapping the Underground and Unseen City” | 1:45 pm CT

Join Lynch as he walks us through how he puts together one of his highly detailed track maps. These maps combine an incredible number of historical sources with on the ground surveys. The idea is not to show just what exists, but to tell a story about how a city has evolved over time. “The number one question I get about these maps is about how I make them. I don’t like to really talk about it because I think people will think I’m insane.” Take a trip into his insanity by going down the rabbit hole in “Mapping the Underground and Unseen City.”

Andrew Lynch is a self-taught cartographer of almost twenty years. He has been fascinated with the unseen sides of cities for most of his life, focused on unbuilt projects, abandoned lines, and lost futures. Lynch began his obsession as a teenager, exploring and photographing abandoned buildings and underground tunnels. He taught himself how to draw maps as a way to describe what he was learning and soon found a rich history of alternative futures that remain unrealized. Today, Lynch documents these layers of history in his Geographically Accurate track maps of the transit networks of various cities. He is also the co-founder of the QueensLink project, a dual transit and parkway concept to reuse an abandoned rail line in Queens, New York City.








The last Milwaukee Road train through Shonkin, Montana is long gone, but a few relics remain, including an elevator and a semi-restored depot. Photograph by Brice Douglas.


Scott Sayre, a 31-year old ATSF trainman and aspiring artist, is painting a watercolor trackside at Orwood, California, on January 30, 1985. Photograph by Richard Steinheimer.


Rådhuset (1975, Sigvard Olsson)
Like an underground archaeological dig, Rådhuset imagines the fragments of Kungsholmen island’s history descending through the ground and appearing in the cave, such as the base of the chimney from a long-gone factory appearing next to the modern escalators. Photograph by Emily Moser.


Andrew Lynch uses a variety of modern and historic maps to track changes in the urban landscape and discover lost pieces of history to be added to his maps.

Shooting the Diesel That Did it, presented by Kevin Keefe

Tuesday, October 25, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom

Now Available on YouTube

The debut of Electro-Motive Division’s FT freight locomotive in 1939 and 1940 was a watershed for the railroad industry – the steam locomotive was on its way out. The FT’s first public appearances gave both EMD and the Santa Fe Railway a chance to show off their promotional muscle, and photographs would tell the tale. In a presentation inspired by Wallace W. Abbey’s upcoming Indiana University Press book “The Diesel That Did It,” we’ll look back on that moment when photographers recorded the start of a revolution. Presented by Kevin P. Keefe, co-editor of Abbey’s book along with Martha Abbey Miller. 

Kevin Keefe is the retired vice-president-editorial for Kalmbach Publishing Co. and is a board member of the CRP&A. He served as editor of Trains from 1992 to 2000. As a student at Michigan State, he worked on Pere Marquette steam locomotive no. 1225, and he later authored a book about it.


This event is free.




During its 1941 debut run, Santa Fe FT 100 poses at Topeka with historic 2-8-0 No. 2414. Credit: Santa Fe Railway, Kalmbach Media Library.

An Evening with the Winners of the 2022 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards

Tuesday, September 20, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom

Available Now on YouTube

The 2022 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards was one of the most competitive contests we’ve had to date. With over 540 submissions for this year’s theme of Weather Effects, our panel of judges had a difficult job ahead of them to narrow down the entries to six placed photographs. In “An Evening with the Winners…” you’ll hear from the photographers behind the contest’s winning images.

This event is free.


First Prize

Christopher May, black-and-white
Ray Lewis, color

Second Prize

Chris Walters, black-and-white
Eric Williams, color

Third Prize

Dennis Livesey, black-and-white
Robert Arnold, color (unable to attend)


Christopher May, First Prize, black-and-white
Commuters await the arrival of an inbound Metra train at the Elmhurst, Illinois, train station on December 14, 2019.


Ray Lewis, First Prize, color
Two Jordan spreaders and two “snow-fighter” equipped GP38-2s battle to clear the snow off of the Lower Cascade Bridge near Troy, California, on February 11, 2009.

Virtual Launch Party: Preview Continuity & Change, our newest book

Tuesday, August 16, 2022
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom
Registration closes on Monday, August 15 at 4:30 p.m. (CST)

Now Available on YouTube

Join editors Alexander Craghead and Scott Lothes for a virtual launch of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s new publication, Continuity & Change: The Lure of North American Railroads. The book explores the photography of contemporary railroading in North America through 230 photographs and 13 essays that dig into topics on railroads and nature, pathways of commerce, passenger railroading, heritage activities, workers, international connections, and how the passage of time marks both railroads and photography.


Craghead and Lothes will take you behind-the-scenes in the journey of both developing the concept of the book and realizing the final production. Continuity & Change: The Lure of North American Railroads was made possible due to the Center’s expansive and talented community of image-makers who answered an open call for submissions to illuminate the relationship of railroads and photography from the nineteenth century to today.


This event is free.

Publication release: September 1, 2022
Pre-order the book here!

Hardcover, 11×11 inches; 384 pages, 230 photographs
$65.00, plus $9 for domestic shipping





UP, Portland, OR, 2011
Kyle Weismann-Yee


UP, Amtrak California Zephyr, Lovelock, NV, 2019
Lou Capwell