Mel Patrick, Denver, has received the 2011 Fred A. and Jane R. Stindt photography award for lifetime achievements in railroad history.
Patrick is the first rail photographer to develop a major dissolve slide show set to music, with his Union Station program of 1969. Inspired by a photo story in Trains (August 1965), Patrick prepared “Chicago Union Station — A Photographic Narrative” with co-photographer Larry Sallee, now retired from BNSF. The use of narration and music to accompany slides did not originate with Patrick, but this was the first full-scale attempt at a railroad theme program with fast-paced dissolved images. The multimedia presentations have continued with Rio Grande Zephyr, Night Vision, and, in 2012, Time, Motion, Vision. He produced Night Vision for the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s 2004 conference at Lake Forest College.
Patrick’s first published synchronized night flash picture was in Trains in 1968, of steam locomotive 5629 at Chicago & Western Indiana’s 40th Street Tower in Chicago. The last was the color image of the Rio Grande Zephyr at Tunnel 17 in May 1973, printed as a double page spread about 1974. In all, at least 85 photos have been published in Trains including 6 covers, 2 three-page foldouts, 17 two-page spreads, 1997 photography contest winner, and 2 photos in 2008’s “100 Greatest Railroad Photos” special issue.
Patrick is a Chicago native who moved to Denver in 1972. He worked for railroads for 30 years, beginning in 1967, using his deep understanding of railroading to give his photography unequaled veracity and interpretation. His effort to encourage young photographers assures the next generation’s commitment to railroad history.
The announcement appeared in Railroad History, Spring/Summer 2012.