Expanding Scholarship Program

Bluefield, West Virginia, by Samuel PhillipsNorfolk Southern’s former Norfolk & Western yard and coaling tower in Bluefield, West Virginia. Photograph by Samuel Phillips, one of four docent scholarship recipients selected for the Center’s 2014 conference.

Four young photographers will attend Conversations about Photography this year on all-expenses-paid docent scholarships. High interest and strong support from the conference’s growing number of patrons allowed the Center to double the number of 2013 scholarships.

This year’s winners are James Edgar, Johnson City, Tennessee; Jonathan Lee, Chicago; Amanda Oakes, Binghamton, New York, and Samuel Phillips, Radford, Virginia. Edgar and Lee are both photography students in college. Oakes has a lifelong photography interest; her fascination with trains began in 2010 and has already led to publications and work for Canadian Pacific. Phillips is still in high school but already has published extensively in Trains and other magazines.

As docents, the scholarship recipients will attend the entire conference and assist the Center’s staff members and volunteers throughout the weekend. “The conference planning committee was impressed by the high caliber of work that all four of the recipients submitted,” said Scott Lothes, the Center’s president and executive director. “We look forward to having them join us, and we thank the conference’s many patrons for making these awards possible.”

Railroaders: a Hit

DELANO EXIBITION-32
Visitors explore the “Around the Yards” section of the exhibition, which features a model classification yard and wall-sized enlargement of the Illinois Central roundhouse at Markham Yard. Photograph by Henry A. Koshollek; see more photographs of the opening weekend activities on the Center’s Flickr page.

Smashing. That one word sums up the Chicago opening of the Center’s and the Chicago History Museum’s Railroaders: Jack Delano’s Homefront Photography exhibition on April 3, 4 and 5. Well over 1,200 visitors viewed it on those three days—200 on Thursday for the museum’s opening reception for members, 350 on Friday for the Center’s own reception for descendants and family members of the portrait subjects, and 650 for the museum’s public opening on Saturday. Museum staff members were agog. One said that Center’s Friday event was “simply one of the finest in my years at the museum.” And the museum store posted record sales that night. Authors John Gruber, Pablo Delano, and Jack Holzhueter signed copies of the catalog steadily for about two hours. Joseph C. Szabo, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, gave the keynote remarks and blogged about his experience on the Department of Transportation’s website. Chicago publicity was over the top. The Chicago Tribune gave the show two-thirds of a page; the suburban Daily Herald featured it on its Friday front page; and a Sun-Times reviewer said that he was so touched by the film featuring Pablo Delano that he—a tough Chicago newsman—cried. We do not urge tears, but we do urge attendance and purchasing of a catalog.

“Railroaders” Exhibition Opens

Railroaders: Jack Delano's Homefront Photography
Entry graphic (left) and cover of the catalog for the exhibition Railroaders: Jack Delano’s Homefront Photography, which opens April 5 at the Chicago History Museum.

On April 5, the Center’s largest project to date, Railroaders: Jack Delano’s Homefront Photography, opens at the Chicago History Museum, the Center’s partner on the exhibition. The project reveals the humanity, heroism, and diversity of the Chicago railroad community whose work was instrumental to the war effort during World War II. In 1942, photographer Jack Delano was tasked by the federal government to capture images of the rail community to rally support for the war effort. The result was three thousand images, many of which highlight Chicago’s primacy to the North American rail network. The dignity of everyday work and the stories of individual railroaders and their descendants are explored in more than 60 photographs by Delano. The exhibition will be open at the Chicago History Museum through August 10, 2015.

See photographs from the April 4 preview reception for family members of the portrait subjects on our Facebook page.

To accompany the exhibition, the Center is publishing a lavishly-illustrated catalog with 108 images, 58 color and 50 black-and-white, 73 taken by Delano. Contemporary photographs of portrait subjects’ descendants and other family members were made by Pablo Delano, Jack Delano’s son, who teaches photography and art at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. The Center’s founder and past president, John Gruber, edited the catalog. Purchase the catalog and learn more about the exhibition on our website.

Tickets on Sale for 2014 Conference

Mike Danneman, New York Central Hudson taking water on the fly
Mike Danneman, One Fleeting Moment, 1990. New York Central J-3a Hudson locomotive no. 5450 scooping water on the fly along the Hudson River. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 48 in. by 24 in. Danneman and Ron Flanary will discuss their approaches to painting and photography at the 2014 conference.

The Center’s annual conference, Conversations about Photography, will be held May 16–18, 2014, on the campus of Lake Forest College (May 16–17) and at the Chicago History Museum (May 18). Presenters include Jeff Brouws, Scott Conarroe, Mike Danneman and Ron Flanary, Travis Dewitz, John Gruber, Victor Hand, Kevin P. Keefe, Blair Kooistra, Kathi Kube, and Glenn Willumson. Learn more and purchase tickets on the conference page.

Olsen Wins 2013 Gruber Award

First Place: Ronald Olsen

Ronald Olsen of Coventry, Rhode Island, has won first prize in the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s 2013 John E. Gruber Photography Awards Program. Olsen has been photographing nocturnal steam operations in China since 2001, and his view from the Beitai Steelworks in Liaoning Province combines ambient lighting and industrial conditions in an unusual and very dramatic way. Second prize went to Daryl-Ann Saunders, Brooklyn, New York, while Nick D’Amato of Denver, Colorado, took third prize. Twenty-five additional photographers—hailing from three continents—received recognition in the “Judges Also Liked” category.

Go to the awards page to read more and see all of the winning and selected images.