Joel Jensen: 2015 Fred A. and Jane R. Stindt Photography Award

Joel Jensen photo(24K)

Joel Jensen, by Brian Plant


Joel Jensen, Ely, Nevada, a freelance photographer specializing in historical and contemporary railroad related imagery since 1987, received the award for a significant body of work making a outstanding contribution to the photographic interpretation of North America's railroading. His book, Steam: An Enduring Legacy (Norton, 2011), is a stunning collection of photographs from steam railroad operations across the American West. It was so successful that it attracted a review in the Wall Street Journal (October 22, 2011). which said in part, “Jensen documents extant steam locomotives of the American West in 150 black-and-white images that capture both the old engines' rugged romance and the hard, dirty work it takes to maintain them.” He is co-author with Linda Niemann of Railroad Noir: the American West at the End of the Twentieth Century (Indiana, 2010).

He is responsible for 98 photo-essays or articles in railroad publications, and received awards from Nevada, Trains, and American Photographer magazines. He has reached out to general audiences in such publications as American Heritage Magazine “The Lost Language of Trains” (December 1995, 12 photos and front cover). His work has appeared in eight exhibitions including the Robert Mann Gallery in New York City. David Plowden, who received the 1989 R&LHS photo award, wrote: “Joel Jensen looks at the steam locomotive and its milieu through another lens. He combines his skill as a journalist with the eye of an artist. His photographs are not only hauntingly beautiful but often refreshingly surprising. They are unique.”

The full citation appears in Railroad History, Spring-Summer 2016.


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