Conversations about Photography 2009

2009 conference lunch, photo by Hank Koshollek
2009 conference lunch in Calvin Durand Hall, photo by Hank Koshollek.

An enthusiastic crowd of 115 came to Lake Forest (Illinois) College for the Center’s seventh “Conferences About Photography” conference, held April 17-19, 2009. The weekend was sponsored by Canon, Trains, Classic Trains, and Railfan & Railroad magazines. The expanded program included a record number of renowned speakers, plus events on Friday and Sunday . More than 40 people attended both the Friday evening reception and the Sunday morning panel discussion on publishing, and the feedback was all very positive on these new activities. The Center hopes to further expand the conference offerings in 2010.

Saturday’s Schedule

  • 8:30, Welcome
  • 8:45, Don Sims, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Taking a Picture”
  • 9:30, Mark Hemphill, “The Railwaymen of Iraq, Turkey, and Syria”
  • 10:15, Break
  • 10:30, Kevin Scanlon, “The Outline of Metal Against Sky”
  • 11:15, Jamie Allen, Railroad Photography at the George Eastman House
  • 12:00, Lunch (provided on campus)
  • 1:15, Updates on the Center for Railroad Photography & Art
  • 1:45, Stuart Klipper, fine art photography of railroads in American landscape
  • 2:30, Steve Barry, intersections of documentary and creative photography
  • 2:45, Break
  • 3:00, Kelly Lynch, iconic railroad imagery in film
  • 3:45, Kevin Keefe and John B. Corns, the stories behind their railroad stories
  • 4:45, Jeff Brouws, introduction to the Center’s print program and silent auction
  • 5:00, Reception at the Glen Rowan House

Sunday Panel Discussion: Publishing

Sunday morning featured a panel discussion on publishing with Matt Van Hattem ofTrains, Steve Barry of Railfan & Railroad, and Mike Schafer of White River Productions. The Center’s Scott Lothes moderated the discussion, and each member of the panel described the specific goals and needs of their publications, and then fielded numerous questions from the crowd. Van Hattem stressed the need for operations-focused articles at Trains that discuss how much and what kind of traffic is moving where, and most importantly, why. Schafer explained the different needs of the commercial and historical publications at White River, and explained that the historical publications are open to any and all contributers who have interesting personal accounts or information on historic operating patterns — you need not be a member of a particular society to contribute to its magazine. In response to a question about the place of art photography in commercial magazines, Center president John Gruber described the opportunities to publish in journals such as Railrad History and the R&LHS Quarterly. Barry then reminded everyone that the magazines can only publish the material they receive. His magazine only receives a limited amount of more creative photography, but he enjoys publishing it, stating, “If we don’t get a few hate letters every now and then, we don’t feel like we’re pushing the envelope enough.”