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 Center does not maintain a museum space but collaborates with other institutions, using the majority of its 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.
The annual “Conversations about Photography” sets the pace for discussion about contemporary railroad photography and encourages young photographers to become a part of the community. The new Conversations West 2018, to be held at the co-hosting California State Railroad Museum on September 21-22, 2018, is a full day of presentations about railroad photography and art focusing specifically on the American West. The conference will also serve as a kickoff event for the Center’s upcoming Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg photography exhibition, as well as for festivities surrounding the 150th anniversary of the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.
“Running Late at Windy Point” 24×36 in., oil on canvas, 2008. Original artwork by John Signor
Events will commence on the evening of Friday, September 21, with an opening reception at the California State Railroad Museum for the debut of the exhibition Beebe & Clegg: Their Enduring Photographic Legacy. The exhibition will be on display in the Transcontinental Gallery and the event will run from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Appetizers, refreshments, and a cash bar will be available. This event is free and open to the public.
The conference will officially begin the following morning of Saturday, September 22. Registration and refreshments begin at 8:00 a.m., and the conference will start at 9:00 a.m. Following the last presentation, the Center will host a reception in the museum’s Roundhouse Gallery from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Appetizers, refreshments, and a cash bar will be available.
Saturday features an exciting roster of dynamic presenters. Sacramento resident Shirley Burman Steinheimer will showcase the Southern Pacific Railroad through her own photography as well as that of her late husband, Richard Steinheimer, often referred to as “the Ansel Adams of railroad photography.” Ted Benson and Tom Taylor will share stories and captivating black-and-white photography from their early days of exploring California’s railroads together in the 1960s and 1970s. Artist J. Craig Thorpe will present his paintings and thoughts on the role of railroad art in the twenty-first century. John Gruber and John Ryan will discuss their new book about the lives and photography of Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. John Signor will showcase his spectacular paintings of the American rail industry, with a focus on western lines. Richard Koenig will introduce the Center’s “After Promontory” transcontinental railroad project through his recent photography.
Registration for Conversations West is open to the public for $95.00, with a student rate of $50.00. For more information, and to register for the event, please visit their web site at railphoto-art.org/conferences.