John Gruber’s Photo Exhibition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

 

Last week I traveled with John Gruber to the Illinois Railway Museum at Union. John needed to deliver some material in relation to his North Shore photo exhibit, and he wanted me to expose a few images of him with his photographs.

Between 1960 and 1963, John made a project of documenting the last years of operation of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee interurban electric line.

North Shore was an intensive electric line that connected the Chicago Loop (trains served downtown using the rapid transit ‘L’—[elevated line]) with Milwaukee, Wisconsin via Chicago’s northern suburbs. The line was well known for its articulated streamlined speedsters called Electroliners and its electrically cooked hamburgers known as Electroburgers. Operations concluded in January 1963.

John’s work is iconic. He exposed thousands of North Shore photographs and his photography goes well beyond ordinary images of the trains. He focused on people as well as machines, and preserved a feel for this unusual railway in motion.

Johns work was prominently featured in the pages of Trains magazine and in books such as those by the late William D. Middleton.

His current exhibit can be seen in the waiting room of the East Union station at IRM. It will be on display through the end of 2016.

Of course, while we were at IRM, we took the opportunity to travel the line, and visit some of the historic equipment (which includes several of North Shore’s cars).

In addition to a variety of digital photos, I exposed these black & white images with my Leica.

John Gruber at IRM. Exposed on Ilford Pan F using a Leica 3A with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens.
John Gruber at IRM. Exposed on Ilford Pan F using a Leica 3A with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford FP4 black & white film using a Leica 3A with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford FP4 black & white film using a Leica 3A with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford FP4 black & white film using a Leica 3A with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens. (image cropped).
Exposed on Ilford FP4 black & white film using a Leica 3A with Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens. (image cropped).

For more information on the Illinois Railway Museum see: http://www.irm.org

Tracking the Light posts Daily.

4 thoughts on “John Gruber’s Photo Exhibition at the Illinois Railway Museum.”

    1. The f3.5 35mm Nikkor lens I’ve been using for these recent black & white film photographs was made by Nikkor (Nikon) in the late 1940s/early 1950s, and as I understand it was specifically designed for the Leica screw-mount range-finder cameras. It is a fairly unusual item, but extremely sharp and very lightweight. Years ago, I had one of the Nikon 35mm PC lens that I used with my Nikon F3T SLR. Although the manufacturer and focal length are the same, the similarity between the two lenses ends there.I think it would extremely difficult to use a perspective control lens on a screw-mount rangefinder without the aid of a reflex system, such as Leica’s ‘Visoflex’.

  1. Very nice, Brian. It’s so good to see B&W film shots with a good camera/lens combination and proper exposure (inside window shots at that!). Much better than digital.

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