Register now for Conversations 2020, April 17-19

2020 Information
Conversations is a three-day conference about railroad photography and art in Lake Forest, Illinois, thirty miles north of Chicago, hosted by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.


We are instituting price differentials for early, regular, and late registrations. Prices vary between members and non-members.

Early: $120 (January 2-31)
Regular: $140 (February 1 – March 27)
Late: $160 (March 28 – April 10)

Early: $170 (January 2 – 31)
Regular: $190 (February 1 – March 27)
Late: $210 (March 28 – April 10)

Students – no price difference

Friday Banquet: $70 / $25 for students
Saturday Banquet: $40 / $20 for students

Location: The campus of co-sponsor Lake Forest College (campus map), thirty miles north of Chicago. Learn more about the City of Lake Forest online or download the PDF overview.

  • As in past years, we will begin with a reception and an optional dinner on Friday evening. The reception begins at 5:00 pm in the Glenn Rowan House, with dinner service commencing at 6:30 pm in Calvin Durand Hall. Following dinner, Norm Carlson will give a presentation about Metra.
  • Saturday will feature a full day of presentations, breakfast, lunch, an evening reception with drinks and appetizers, and another optional dinner. The day begins at 8:30 am in the Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel. Doors open at 8:00 am.
  • Sunday will conclude the weekend with presentations from 8:30 am -12:00 pm in the McCormick Auditorium of the Lillard Science Center. Doors open at 8:00 am.


  • Norm Carlson, Metra (Friday banquet)
  • Patrick Cashin, MTA
  • Steve Crise, photographing trains large and small
  • Phil Hawkins, railway art from the United Kingdom
  • Kevin P. Keefe, photography of J. Parker Lamb
  • Dennis Livesey, retrospective of his photography
  • Mark Llanuza, then-and-now photographs of abandoned railroads in the Midwest plus recent work from Metra
  • Sam Phillips, contemporary photography from Appalachia
  • Dennis Ziemienski, rail art from the West
  • Short presentations by conference docents

Your Photographs: After purchasing your tickets, please send one of your recent photographs, preferably from the past year, for inclusion in a presentation of attendees’ photographs at the conference. Send one JPEG image file, either 1920 pixels wide or 1200 pixels high, to info [at]

Patrons: If you feel strongly about the conference, consider becoming a patron (use the registration link above). Patrons help offset travel costs for presenters, and the 27 patrons of Conversations 2019 also provided funds for scholarships in 2020. Patrons are recognized in the program and receive free tickets for all print raffles.

Scholarships: Up to four scholarships, funded by conference patrons, are available for young, new, and/or emerging photographers and artists to cover ticket prices, two nights of lodging (double occupancy), and partial travel expenses to and from the conference. The deadline is February 21, 2020; applicants will be notified of their status by February 28, 2020. Download application here.

Please let us know in advance if you have any special dietary needs, and we will make every effort to accommodate them.

Hotel rooms are again available at:

Use these links or mention the Center when you call to receive our special rate, which will be available until March 26, 2020 or whenever the block of rooms has been filled.

Philip D. Hawkins, one of the foremost railway artists in the UK, will present his work at Conversations 2020.

Dates and Times

Friday, April 17

  • Conference reception, (Glen Rowan House), 5 pm
  • Dinner, (Calvin Durand Hall), 6:30 pm
  • Metra presentation by Norm Carlson, 7:30 pm

Saturday, April 18

  • Coffee and pastries, (Wood Lounge), 8:00 am
  • Welcome, (Reid Hall), 8:30 am    
  • Presentations, 8:45 am – 12:15 pm  
  • Lunch, (Calvin Durand Hall), 12:15 pm
  • Presentations, 1:30 pm -4:45 pm
  • Reception, (Glen Rowan House), 5:00pm
  • Dinner, (Calvin Durand Hall), 7:00pm

Sunday, April 19

  • Coffee and pastries, (McCormick Lobby), 8:00 am
  • Presentations, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm