ST. PAUL, MINN.—The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA) recently sought photographs to display in what is expected to be the first of an annual amateur and hobby photographers’ exhibit that opened at Union Depot on May 9, 2015 for Amtrak Train Day. The exhibit theme was trains from any era at Union Depot. Passenger, freight and light rail equipment were considered.
Several photographers submitted photos of the grand, historic station and were placed in a category called “Inspiration” since the images influenced ideas for future exhibits. Eleven photographs were on display in the station Head House through mid-June. On Amtrak Train Day the photographs were premiered in the Waiting Room where most of the event exhibitors were located. Four thousand visitors attended the family friendly event, giving the amateur and hobby photographers a wonderful opportunity to showcase their diverse work.
The artists were encouraged to select their best image(s) and submit up to four photos for consideration. Promotion of the opportunity was through a press release and Union Depot and RCRRA social media outlets. Professional photographers and railroad enthusiasts were asked to pass the information along to friends and colleagues. And in a nod to Union Depot’s followers in the social media realm, Instagram photographers were also encouraged to submit their best images. Digital and film formats were considered for the exhibit, and the photographers were responsible for framing and delivery. All photographers were approached regarding the opportunity to sell their work following interest from community members.
“Activating waiting area space with lively community and professional transportation-themed exhibits is another way we are engaging visitors at our station,” says Deborah Carter McCoy, RCRRA spokeswoman. “Other free opportunities include yoga, tours, dance nights and giant-sized board games.”
The amateur and hobby photographers’ exhibit idea was an extension of other shows the RCRRA has hosted in the space. Photographs of Minnesota train stations, posters highlighting Jefferson Lines and travel sketch art from Union Depot Lofts residents Ken and Roberta Avidor have delighted, educated and inspired visitors. With an active rail fan network armed with cameras, the RCRRA felt offering the public an opportunity to enjoy some exceptional rail fan photography was an obvious next step. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results and look forward to next year,” says Carter McCoy.
Thanks to Deborah Carter McCoy for her assistance with this article.