Keith Burgess’ photos, tightly focused on the theme “fascination with railroad machines,” received top honors and a Canon Powershot G7 digital camera in the 2007 awards program. Burgess lives in Troy, Michigan. “I picked up photography as a hobby in 2001. My initial interest was in capturing nature, but I soon found that my true passion was industrial photography. Combining this with my childhood fascination of trains, I gravitated towards railroad photography. Being self-taught, it took me some time to be able to capture the images the way I envisioned them. With the advances that Canon has made in digital photography, I had no hesitations switching from film to digital. I feel that with digital photography I was able to refine my skills and capture my dramatic and moody outlook,” Burgess says about his photography.
Second place went to Lorenzo Kristov, Davis, California, and third to Alex Ramos, Berkeley, California. Kristov says: “If I had to sum up the primary goal of my photography in a single sentence, I’d say I want to lead viewers to find exceptional beauty and fascination in places and materials they would normally tend to overlook.” Ramos, who is finishing his last year of high school, has been taking photographs for the last four years. “I mainly focus on photographing trains or anything related to the subject of railroads. I really enjoy photographing the human aspect of railroading,” he says.
Runner-ups were Steve Crise, Pomona, California; John W. Coniglio, Hixson, Tennessee; and Kevin Scanlon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Forty-eight photographers submitted entries. The Center announced the winners at the conclusion of its fifth “Conversations about Photography” conference March 24.
The 2007 theme, fascination with railroad machines, was wide ranging. It could include machines in the environment, machines at work, railroaders working with machines, or anything as simple as a tie or switch stand or as complex a high horse-power locomotive. Photographers were judged on their ability to demonstrate creative, technical, and interpretative excellence in new and unusual ways. We want to encourage the caliber of work that is suitable for gallery and museum display. Railfan & Railroad magazine published the top winners in its July 2007 issue. The California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, displayed an exhibition of the the winning photos.