The Center’s exhibition Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden is at the Oliver Jensen Gallery at the Valley Railroad Company in Essex, Connecticut, from June 25 through September 6. The exhibition consists of 30 black-and-white inkjet prints from the photographer’s new book of the same name, released in October 2010 from W.W. Norton. Essex is the second venue for the show, which was previously at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento and will travel next to the Grohmann Museum in Milwuakee for the fall.
The nation’s foremost railroad photography conference (Conversations about Photography) had attendees waving palms (it was also Palm Sunday weekend) in their enthusiasm for the presentations, especially those by headliners Olaf Haensch of Germany and Stan Kistler of California. Haensch, a relative newcomer in the field, took over at the last minute from his countryman Alex Zwingenberger who unanticipatedly ran afoul of heightened U.S. visa scrutiny for musicians. (Zwingenberger was scheduled to perform boogie-woogie piano music while showing his steam-era photographs.) Haensch charmed the audience with his carefully delivered remarks about his steam photographs (in self-taught English). Kistler, a veteran photographer, exhibited his prints and focused his remarks on his work in the 1940s and ’50s, but also showed more recent work.
Trains magazine editor Jim Wrinn said of the conference, “The presentations at this year’s conference gave us insights into the thinking that went into the making of some of the greatest railroad images of our times. What a thrill it was to learn how these craftsmen developed and grew in their journeys as the photographers who documented one of our greatest and most fascinating industries!”
First-time attendee Paul Hoffman added, “This was my first conference and I was blown away beyond my expectations!” For more, see Alexander Craghead’s hour-by-hour posts on the Facebook Page from the conference, and a complete wrap-up on the Conference Page, including Hank Koshollek’s photographs. The 2012 conference will be April 13-15, again at Lake Forest College. Don’t miss it!