18:20 in Magazine - article by stationmaster
by Paul Hloben – Review by John Batwell
A number of years ago, Canada’s Nils Huxtable published some stunning black-and-white steam photography. Not too many coffee table books come out in black-and-white – it’s all colour these days. However, there is something wonderful about viewing steam pictures in black-and-white and this has prompted Hloben to use this medium in a follow-up to his colour presentation Steam Passion.
The 176 pages of Steam Encounters are in landscape format and the photographic coverage – on glossy paper – embraces steam locomotives in a variety of contexts: from attendant personnel minding a newly-lit fire in the lonely dead of night to the glitz, glamour and clamour of next-day steam running, characterised by the paparazzi taking up vantage points for the potential photographic “great shot”.
The contemporary steam scene in black-and-white features primarily the locomotives of the clubs Reefsteamers and Friends of The Rail, captured through the lenses of Hloben (and others), many during sunrise and sunset line operations as well as in atmospheric sheds. Photos on one of South Africa’s most scenic lines, the Bethlehem-Bloemfontein section, were made possible by Reefsteamers’ operations.
Hloben has pulled in veteran South African photographer Mike Wright for a wealth of steam shots from decades back – from times before the word “preservation” was even mentioned. Wright’s evocative images include the really big locomotives of the old SAR – the class 25 condensors and the mighty GL Garratts, for instance.
Paul Hloben has captured not only steam engines in all their glory, but also those responsible for their demanding physical preparations – the greasing, watering, fire-lighting, polishing and shovelling, mostly unseen, that precede the Great Day. Bringing out the best of South Africa’s many diverse classes of steam locos, Steam Encounters will make a worthy addition to anyone’s railway library.
First Edition 2011 – 30cm x 22cm
Published by Rexxon Publishing
P O Box 71860, Bryanston 2021, Johannesburg, South Africa
Phone: +27 11 705 2003; +27 83 269 0667