An enjoyable trip to Peak Rail in Derbyshire didn’t produce any great photos, but a visit to their 2nd hand book wagon did yield a couple of 50 pence gems. First up was ‘Steam’ by Ian Krause, whose work I’d seen in the classic Ian Allan ‘Steam Portfolio’. It’s mainly steam in action, and some very good ones as well, plus a few alternative views.
Of more significance was a book by Hans Steeneken called ‘All Trains To Stop’. Now I’d never heard of either the book nor the photographer before, but after picking it up and flicking through it, I was straight down to the till!
Steeneken was actually a professional photographer, working for the Dutch electricity board, and his photos are superb, both aesthetically and technically. He travelled Europe in the sixties and early seventies photographing the last days if steam in Britain, Germany, France and Spain, producing over 30000 images. This must have been some feat at the time, as 30000 images is a lot of film!
In some respects, his style is similar to the British progressive photographers of the 1960’s (lots of grime, atmospheric night and shed shots, drivers, panned shots of trains on the move, reflections, centre jour, etc) but it is the breadth and depth of the study which sets it apart from other books I have seen. In fact I’d go as far as saying that it’s the most definitive book of progressive railway photographs I’ve yet seen.
I struggled to choose just a few photos to scan and include, there really are so many excellent photos to choose from. Plenty of copies are available on ABE Books on the internet, it’s well worth taking a look at if you like alternative photos of steam railways.
Click on the picture below to go to Amazon to buy it!