I finally got a chance to read all the posts (was on a whirlwind trip in Kansas City last weekend.) Some further thoughts. First, while I say I can quickly spot what I call "foamer re-enactments," and don't consider these to be vintage, it doesn't mean I don't think they aren't very nice photos. Many certainly are and I would take them if I had the chance (with a film camera .) Now on to my main point. I think many of us here are confusing "timeless" with "vintage." Timeless means "without time." I.e., there are no clues as to what time/era they were taken. They are impossible or at least difficult to date. Vintage means they are from a specific time, i.e. the 1930s. They are easy to date, at least within a decade, if for no other reason than the locomotives, vehicles, clothing/hairstyles, etc. seen in the image. I will submit that all of the photos displayed so far have been vintage, but none are timeless.
That brings me to the question, "Is it possible to make a railroad photo that actually is timeless, and not simply vintage?" I think yes. That style was very popular in the past but is definitely not popular now, at least not with mainstream orthodox railfans. Below are three photos from my own collection that I believe just might be thought of as timeless. Anyone want to guess as to what decade they were made? If you can't, that meets my definition of "timeless." I'll give the answers in a later post, but first let's have some fun guessing!
Kent in SD
Very interesting thoughts Ken. I pulled some definitions:
Vintage (adj.)-denoting something of high quality, especially something from the past or characteristic of the best period of a person's work.
Timeless (adj.)-not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion.
Couldn't what we are shooting be very vintage, but also be timeless simultaneously? Just for example, I take your pictures of the ROW. They are all very vintage particularly compared to today's era, but they are also timeless because the pictures depict a subject that is not affected by changes in culture, society etc. (mostly).
Even looking at my pictures, not to be cocky, the shots of the hostler monitoring the air pump, IMO, could be both vintage and timeless because they depict the era of steam railroading (vintage), but are also timeless because the art of hostling still is occurring today and thus has outlived any societal or cultural change.
Just my view. Anyone have any other thoughts?