The 2021 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program asks photographers to submit a set of three digital images that thematically tell a story capturing a unique aspect of railroading. These three images will be judged as a single submission. Photographers may submit up to two sets of three images.
There are no time frame limitations, digital manipulation of the images is permitted but not required, color and black & white images are acceptable as determined by the artist.
Theme introduction: December 1, 2020
Submission deadline: May 1, 2021
Awards notification: August 1, 2021
Applicants must submit:
- Up to two image sets, 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 3000 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 email@example.com
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 2021 issue of Railroad Heritage, and Railfan & Railroad magazine will publish the winners in a fall issue.
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, are displayed at the California State Railroad Museum, 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.