The jurors, a distinguished group of experts on railroads and photography, spent almost a day picking the winners from 42 entries. It was extremely difficult to make the final decisions. “We feel that there weren’t any losers, or that one was better than the other, rather there were several First Place winners in our minds. The final entrants took hours to decide, after much deliberation. The entrants can be extremely proud of the work that they did,” the jurors continued. “There was an amazing array of different styles and work. Some were absolute masterpieces of creativity and technical craftsmanship. Many great photos from unknown photographers.”
The Center makes the awards to promote innovative ways of showing railroads in urban and rural contexts. The 2005 award was for photographs made with a film or digital camera after December 31, 2001. Photographers are judged on their ability to demonstrate creative, technical, and interpretative excellence in new and unusual ways.
Ryan’s pictures were taken with a Horizon 202 (a swing lens Panorama camera) using Ilford Delta 100 professional film. She and her husband, Stephan Schmitz, live in Freiburg, Germany, with their 20-month-old daughter, Hannah Mathilda. Ryan grew up in Chicago; her family lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois. “My interest in photography comes from my father who always had a camera in hand as I was growing up and it was he who gave me my first camera on a trip to Montana when I was 15. My interest continues and today my husband and I both enjoy photographing together—we have a darkroom and small studio set-up.
“My husband and I used to live in Cologne, Germany, and the main train station was one of our favorite locations for photographing. We spent many weekends running from track to track setting up the camera to get the ‘right shot’ in the short time that the trains were stopped there. The first pictures made at the train station were random and after a few times we had it down to an art–looking at train schedules to get the right train on the right track … easier said than done since the German rail system is infamous for delays!”
Elrond Lawrence (www.elrondlawrence.com), the second place winner, is based in California’s Monterey County. He specializes in images of the Golden State and the American Southwest, with an emphasis on railroads, transportation, landscapes, and roadside America.
Bill Agee (redsilver.com), right, is a fine arts and advertising photographer. For the second year, he is working mostly in digital color. “I don’t stop with just taking the photo, however, but spend a lot of my post-shooting time on the computer manipulating the images usually in a very surreal way,” he says.
Steve Crise (www.scrise.com), center, began working in photography professionally in 1979 and started his own studio in 1986. He produces stock photography for Corbis with an emphasis on rail transportation.
Scott Lothes (www.scottlothes.com), left, graduated with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2002 and for three yeears served as the assistant editor of Sound and Vibration, an engineering magazine dealing with noise and vibration control.