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Railfan Photo Line - April 2011

Welcome to Photo Line! Founded in 1997, the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, works with photographers, writers, and historians around the world to offer a new and unprecedented view of the railroad's influence on American culture through the preservation and presentation of art and photography. The CRPA does not maintain a museum space but collaborates with other institutions, using the majority of their resources for creative programs. Since the beginning, the Center's goal has been to offer high-quality public programs associated with photography and art works in all media. Their annual "Conversations about Photography" sets the pace for national discussion about contemporary railroad photography and encourages young photographers to become a part of the community. Consider attending their ninth annual “Conversations” conference, April 15-17, on the campus of co-sponsor Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. Here is a sampling of some of the work from this year's presenters.

Update (April 4, 2011): Axel Zwingenberger, the innovative German railroad photographer who doubles as a boogie-woogie pianist, will not be able to appear at the conference due to unanticipated problems with travel documents. In his place, the CRPA is pleased to present the work of Olaf Haensch. More details available on the CRPA's web site.

Center for Railroad Photography & ArtSteam on Harz Mountain

Olaf Haensch of Munich, Germany, is an editor for Modelleisenbahn ("Model Railroader"), a market-leading German railroad magazine. Born in 1975, he began his photographic career at the young age of 10. Haensch has photographed trains in many European countries as well as China and the United States, but his most extensive photographic project to date has concerned the regular steam trains in the Harz Mountains of his native Germany. Working almost exclusively at night with elaborate synchronized flash setups, this portfolio took five years to produce and recently led to his new book NachtZüge ("Night Trains").

Center for Railroad Photography & ArtNew Town Job

The CP's New Town job heads east out of New Town, North Dakota, with grain and crude oil from the Bakken Formation. September 2010. Photographer Lew Ableidinger of East Fargo, North Dakota, is also an engineer on the Canadian Pacific. Ableidinger began photographing trains and railroads seriously in 1999 and went onto study graphic communications and music performance (jazz piano) at Minnesota State University Moorehead. His presentation will include his recent studies of work from the photographers of the New Topographics exhibition and how it may apply to railroad photography.

Center for Railroad Photography & ArtNorth Shore Conductor

Conductor Gene A. Bergfeld waits for passengers at Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee's terminal in downtown Milwaukee. Photographer John Gruber of Madison, Wisconsin is founder of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art and editor of its journal, Railroad Heritage. He has been a free-lance railroad photographer since 1960, and received a railroad history award from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in 1994 for lifetime achievement in photography. Gruber extensively photographed the final years of the North Shore's operations in the early 1960s, and his presentation will focus on this work.

Center for Railroad Photography & ArtEl Cap interlude

Santa Fe brakeman Fred Ball and car attendant Lamar Stone with the hi-level El Capitan at Pasadena, California, in August 1962. Photographer Stan Kistler of Grass Valley, California, grew up in southern California and recorded his first photographic image in 1943, at age 12. A lifetime of railroad photography followed, and imagery also dominated Kistler's professional career in graphic arts. In 1996, the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society recognized his long-term accomplishments with its prestigious Railroad History Award for Photography.

Center for Railroad Photography & ArtVacances dans le Sud

An SNCF 141 R Class 1143 hustles through a station in the south of France, 1967. Photo by Joe McMillan of Arvada, Colorado, a long-time railroad photographer and publisher of books and calendars at McMillan Publications. He will present a retrospective of his photography at the conference.

Center for Railroad Photography & ArtThe Hometown Road

The Milwaukee Road diesel house at 27th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, circa 1975. The last of this complex has recently been razed to make way for new downtown development. Photographer Lina Bertucci from New York City teamed with author Linda Niemann to produce Railroad Voices, published in 1998. During the 1970s, Bertucci was among the first women to work in train service for the Milwaukee Road, which paid for her B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin. She later completed an M.F.A. in photography at the Pratt Institute, and her work is published and exhibited widely.

Center for Railroad Photography & ArtThe universal language of the mixed train

Amid the vastness of Pategonia, Argentina, the Esquel Branch mixed train chugs north toward El Maiten in 1988. Photographer Karl Zimmermann of Oradell, New Jersey is a life-long writer, photographer, and lecturer. He has been published in newspaper travel sections many hundreds of times, and in magazines nearly as often. While trains and rail travel have been his most usual subjects, he has also written frequently about steamboats, ships, and cruises; about baseball, particularly the minor leagues; and about remnants of vanished industries and ways of life.

Register today for "Conversations About Photography," April 15-17, 2011 at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. Presented by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.


Railfan Photo Line

Railfan Photo Line welcomes your submissions. We're looking for a themed topic (and "theme" can be interpreted fairly broadly) with five to eight photos. Each photo should be no smaller than 14 inches (or 1024 pixels) across at 72 dpi (no verticals, please). Brief caption information must accompany each photo. The best way to submit Photo Line candidates is via e-mail with "Photo Line" in the subject line and no more than two photos attached per e-mail. Please send your submissions to Editor Steve Barry for consideration.

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