There can be no more opposite things than photography and railroading.
Heavy, dumb cast steel, versus a camera with more brain power than Tonya Harding was only the beginning. It was more than this. My experience in media has taught me some valuable lessons about the publishing world. I now read every article, column, and story with an eye of skepticism, because I had been behind the stage, and I knew that, with rare exceptions, everyone's scenery is made of cardboard, and media is all about appearances, illusions, effects, appearances, but if there is one thing it's rarely about, it's truth.
Railroading is about as opposite as you can get. Hard cast steel; rocks that have seen the ages go by; heavy lifting and blood. Real things. The earth itself. Hard, back breaking work -- literally -- that no illusion could make any prettier.
Perhaps this is the key to why so many point their lens towards the rails. Perhaps it's mine. Perhaps it's the attraction of opposites, the attraction of a pursuit all about appearances, to a tangible way of living that has no room for anything that doesn't weigh more than 75 pounds per yard.
What is your reason?
I also want to take this opportunity to welcome two new contributors to the "pages" of NWOR. The first is Frank Keller of Colorado, whose work on the Central Oregon & Pacific can be seen in this quarter's issue. The second is Jonathan Glanville, who contacted NWOR recently with a desire to contribute something. His photo-essay on winter railfanning is the result. I hope you enjoy Frank and Jonathan's photography, and I look forward to seeing more of their work here.