Scholarship Winners Announced

A South Carolina teenager who explores the lighting possibilities of digital photography, and a New York City young professional who uses traditional large-format media, have won scholarships to attend the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s annual Conversations about Photography conference, April 12-14 on the campus of co-sponsor Lake Forest (Illinois) College.

Peter Lewis, 18 and a native of Clemson, South Carolina, was home-schooled and now attends Clemson University as a freshman majoring in pre-business. He says, “I can’t count the number of times I have gotten up at 5 o’clock on a Saturday morning to seek out a few trains. Regularly, I would ride my bike to the railroad track.” Additionally, he frequently serves as a volunteer photographer at events throughout the region. See more of his work on

John Sanderson, 29, is a rising young professional photographer in New York City where he has shown his general work as well as his railroad specialty at five galleries. He is a graduate of Hunter College, New York City, in political science. Of his choice to use 4×5 and 8×10 view cameras, he says, “The larger format changed my approach to the landscape. Since I could no longer capture fast-moving objects as I could with 35mm, I became more contemplative of the moment than I was with the smaller camera. I started to see the movement of light and shadow across a scene as important as a rumbling train.” See more of Sanderson’s work at

This is the inaugural year for conference scholarships, which cover all expenses including travel for two young or emerging photographers. Applicants had to submit ten images with a statement of purpose and meet one of three criteria: under 30 years of age, enrolled in an art-related higher-education program, or have less than five years experience in the field. Support for the effort came from the sixteen patrons of the 2012 conference. They are Darryl Bond, Norman Carlson, Charles Castner, Bon French, John Gruber, Nona Hill, Clark Johnson, Jim Koglin, Jeff Mast, Brian Matsumoto, David Mattoon, Don Phillips, Kenneth Rehor, Michael Schmidt, Jeffrey Smith, and Michael Valentine.

The eleventh annual Conversations about Photography is April 12-14, 2013, for the tenth time on the campus of co-sponsor Lake Forest College, 30 miles north of Chicago. Other sponsors include Trains, Classic Trains, Canon, Railfan & Railroad, and the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. The event begins at 5:30 on Friday with a reception, dinner, and keynote address by Tony Reevy on his new book about O. Winston Link’s photography. Saturday features a full day of presentations headlined by Norfolk Southern company photographer Casey Thomason, with a reception in the evening. Sunday morning workshops include a panel discussion on railroad journalism led by Jim Wrinn, editor of Trains magazine.

Visit the conference page for more details and to purchase tickets. Consider becoming a patron to ensuring that the scholarship program continues in 2014 and beyond.

Photographs by Peter Lewis (left) and John Sanderson, the Center for Railroad Photography & Art's 2013 scholarship winners.Photographs by Peter Lewis (left) and John Sanderson, the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s 2013 docent scholarship winners.