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
Applicants must submit:
- Up to 3 images in either color and/or black-and-white, must include location, date, and basic caption information
- Mailing Address
- Email Address
- Phone number
Images should be submitted as high-resolution jpegs with a pixel dimension of at least 1500 on one side.
Electronic submissions only. No watermarks.
Files can be sent via email, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc.
The Center reserves the right to retain electronic copies for future publication, use on website, Facebook, and other social media, or for public exhibition. In all cases, the photographer retains the copyright to the image.
Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Trespassing along railroad rights-of-ways is illegal and the leading cause of rail-related deaths in the United States. The CRP&A discourages trespassing for this contest and retains the right to disqualify any photographs deemed dangerous in content.
- First place, $750
- Second place, $500
- Third place, $250
- Judges Also Liked, one-year subscription to Railroad Heritage
The Center will publish the winners in the Fall 2023 issue of Railroad Heritage, and Railfan & Railroad magazine will publish the winners in a fall issue. An exhibition of the winning photographs will also be displayed at the Colorado Railroad Museum.
About the Program
Now the John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program, the competitive program started in 2002. It is devoted exclusively to contemporary railroad photography and attracts hundreds of entrants annually from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Winning photographs are published in the Center’s journal, Railroad Heritage® and in Railfan & Railroad magazine, and appear on this website.
Gruber was a photography and preservation activist in the railroad community since 1960. His own photography was published widely, especially in Trains Magazine. In 1994, the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society presented Gruber with its Fred A. and Jane R. Stindt Photography Award. From 1995-99, Gruber edited Vintage Rails. In 1997 his intense interest in both photography and preservation, and his concern about the welfare and longevity of amateur and professional photographers’ work, led him to organize the founding of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.
As an author Gruber wrote Classic Steam, edited Railroaders: Jack Delano’s Homefront Photography (published by the Center in 2014), and co-authored several other volumes of railroad-related images. His final publication was Beebe & Clegg: Their Enduring Photographic Legacy, published by the Center in 2018. The book serves as an enduring testament to Gruber’s detailed research, passion, and lasting significance in the field of railroad photography.