"Down Along the Cotton Belt; St. Louis to Tyler, Texas" is a show of 43 black and white prints by J. P. Bell that opens next week at the gallery of the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau in Grapevine, Texas. This exhibit of vintage silver gelatin prints made in the early 1990s takes visitors on a geographic journey in photographs and words along the Cotton Belt Railroad from Union Station in St. Louis to Tyler, Texas, the starting point for the Cotton Belt in the late 1800s.
Photographic prints in this show are primarily 11x14" with one 22x28" and four 8x10"s. Text mounted adjacent to each group of photographs tells the story of the old Cotton Belt Railroad, now merged with the Union Pacific. Part of the former Cotton Belt line runs through Grapevine and is home to the Fort Worth and Western Railway and the Grapevine Scenic Railroad.
The show runs February 25 through May 20, 2013. Contact the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau at https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/Default.aspx for more information.
Prints from this show may be ordered through the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau or through email contact through this website.
J. P. Bell photographs are included in several new shows in 2013. J. P. also has photographs and text in several recent publications.
First, Bell and fellow photographer and paddling buddy, Tom Kennon, have a collection of photographic prints in the Community Room of the Fort Smith Public Library on Rogers, Avenue in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The show is entitled "Arkansas: Our Home.".
J. P. has a photographic print in the new Small Works on Paper show for 2013 touring the state and sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council. Bell's print is entitled "In the Wheat Fields." See the full schedule of sites where the show will travel by visiting the website of the Arkansas Arts Council at http://www.arkansasarts.org/whats-new/detail.aspx?id=257.
Some of J. P. 's new photographs are in a show entitled "White River Memoirs," put together by Chris Engholm. Featured are four prints of the ruins of the amphitheater at Monte Ne, Arkansas that become exposed at lower water levels of Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas. The show is at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, Arkansas January 3-January 25, 2013.
J. P. Bell's photograph of the Cotton Belt steam locomotive No 819 leaving Pine Bluff, Arkansas and passing before a market with the sign on a pillar advertising "Fresh Fish Daily" is included in the 2013 Delta Exhibit sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. The show dates are January 10 through March 30, 2013. For exhibition information visit the Arts Center website at http://www.arkarts.com/exhibitions/upcoming_exhibitions/delta.asp.
In the realm of publications, J. P. Bell has a new photo essay and text on the 150th anniversary of the Union Pacific Railroad in the magazine, "Railfan and Railroad." The text tells of President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Pacific Railroad Act on July 1, 1862, creating the transcontinental railroad that would span North America. The article is illustrated with J. P.'s photographs of Union Pacific steam engine No. 844 crossing the "Overland Route" between Omaha, Nebraska and Cheyenne, Wyoming in June 2012. The article is in the November 2012 issue of "Railfan and Railroad."
In the literary journal, "Whitefish Review," published out of Whitefish, Montana, Bell also has a photograph and story entitled, "Welcome to the New Front."
To all visitors to this online gallery, I wish you a prosperous 2013. Let us be thankful for all of our blessings from God and look forward to the new year.
The Yellowstone NP gallery has been expanded to include Grand Teton National Park. You will find images of the Grand Tetons taken on the winter solstice, 21 December 2012 this year. The temperature was -15 degrees F. It was indeed cold. But, we can be thankful that the forest fires of September 2012 are long gone. The cold air was exhilarating.
Also new to the transportation gallery and the diesel train section are images of the Kansas City Southern Railway's beautiful business train in the Southern Belle paint scheme. This passenger train is pulled by classic F-unit diesel locomotives and carries the annual Holiday Express train around the KCS system each December. This annual excursion gives children in the KCS service area a chance for some Christmas fun and provides photographers a chance to remember what Southern Belle passenger trains looked like in the Ouachita and Ozarks Mountains in the 1950s.
The November 2012 issue of Railfan and Railroad magazine carries a feature story by J. P. Bell of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Union Pacific Railroad.This article includes photographs made during the June 2012 run of UP steam locomotive No. 844 across Nebraska and eastern Wyoming to home base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Look for the magazine on the newstands now. This issue was delayed due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard.
J. P. Bell's show of 36 photographic prints entitled "Cinematic Rails: Trains in the Movies," moves to the Smith-Pendergraft Gallery in the Campus Center at the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This show just returned to Arkansas from the Gallery in the Grapevine Visitors Center in Grapevine, Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This show opens on the UAFS campus October 4, 2012 with a reception in the gallery from 5-6:30 PM. The show will hang in the gallery until December 21, 2012.
Don't miss the October 2012 issue of eFort Smith magazine and J. P. Bell's story and photographs about flight and aerial photography over the Ozark Mountains in the clear autumn skies.
J. P. Bell's show of 36 photographs, "Cinematic Rails: Trains in the Movies." moves to the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau Headquarters at 636 South Main Street in Grapevine, Texas. The Visitors Bureau has a new gallery space and "Cinematic Rails" is their first show. The exhibition runs from 1 August 2012 through 9 September 2012. Call 817-410-8136 for more information. The Visitors Bureau Gallery is open daily. All prints in the show are available for purchase.
J. P. Bell has photographs and an essay in the current May 2012 issue of eFort Smith, the regional magazine for the Fort Smith, Arkansas area. The story and images can also be seen online at the website of eFort Smith at : http://www.efortsmith.com/features/index.cfm/aid/37/Frog%2DBayou%3A%2DA%2DWhitewater%2DPlayground
Take a look. Copies of the print magazine can be obtained at restaurants, hotels, bookstores, and retail outlets in the Fort Smith area
J. P. Bell has a new article and and photo essay in the magazine, "Ride Texas." Subtitled, "Your Guide to Great Motorcycling Roads and Destinations," this periodical out of Austin, Texas covers the touring scene in the Lonestar State and the surrounding region. The magazine article in the Spring 2012 issue tells the history of Texas railroads and has a number of J. P. 's photographs. The current issue of the magazine is in book stores and on news stands now.
It is sandhill crane time again in the Cornhusker State. We just returned from a photographic trip to Kearney, Nebraska. It is always magical to be on the Platte River at this time of year. Hundreds of thousands of these beautiful migratory birds touch down to roost on the sandbars of the Platte for several weeks and to build fat stores for their long flight to Canada, Montana, Idaho, and even Siberia for spring and summer nesting. This natural event on the Platte is called staging. Their flights from the river to the harvested cornfields in the morning and back again to the river in the evening are spectacular. We will add a few new images of sandhill cranes to the Wildlife Gallery over the next few days.
Also, see the current March issue of eFort Smith, our regional magazine in western Arkansas, for an article and photography by J. P. Bell on the migrations of sandhill cranes along the Platte River.
"Cinematic Rail: Trains in the Movies" is a show of 36 photographic prints by J. P. Bell that runs from 13 January through 3 March 2012 at Cantrell Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. This collection of prints spans over 30 years and tells the story of just a few of the movies that utilized vintage trains in their productions. This show is a departure for J. P. in that the black and white prints were all produced digitally using scanned negatives and an Epson 3880 printer. The show covers movies such as "Biloxi Blues," "Appaloosa," "Truman," Tuskegee Airmen," and the remake of "True Grit," in 2010. Cantrell Gallery is hosting a reception from 6 - 8 PM on Friday, 13 January 2012. Stop by if you are able.Don't miss this show.
Happy New Year!
J. P. Bell's show of 36 photographs in the collection, "Cinematic Rails, Trains in the Movies," is opening soon at Cantrell Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. Watch for further details.
The romance and adventure of travel by boat have captured the imagination of men and women since the dawn of time. The new Nautical Gallery in the online gallery of J.P. Bell reflects the spirit of this human endeavor. From the classic lines of vintage wooden boats in Glacier National Park to the once glorious, now rusting hulks of passenger steamers from the 1940s and 50s, the Nautical Gallery brings you fine art photographic prints from around the world.
Yellowstone National Park lies for the most part in northern Wyoming, but also juts into southern Montana and eastern Idaho. Yellowstone is America's first National Park and was established in 1872. Yellowstone is a wonderland of geysers and rivers with deep canyons. This high plateau in the northern Rockies provides refuge for an abundance of wildlife including such large mammals as grizzly bears, bison and elk. J. P. Bell's Yellowstone Gallery features classic black and white silver prints and color digital photography. Return often to the Yellowstone NP Gallery through the rest of 2011 as new images may be added monthly.
A new gallery has been added to American Landscapes. Taos, New Mexico holds the imagination of those drawn to the Santa Fe Trail and the magical light of the Southwest. Ranchos Taos Mission Church has been photographed and painted by many artists. There is always room more for one more interpretation of this historic place of blue sky and earthen adobe.
J. P. Bell is one of the invited artists participating in the annual "Wine and Roses" art auction for 2011. This event is a fund raiser for the Reynolds Cancer Support House in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The evening of food and art occurs on 9 April 2011, 6:30 PM at the craftsman-style home of the Cancer Support House on 3324 South M Street. Bell's photography for this auction includes silver gelatin, selenium toned black and white prints. Also included in this auction are J. P.'s digital color photographic prints using K3 Ultrachome inks on Epson Velvet paper. All prints for this auction are matted and framed.
We have just returned from 10 days of photography in Mobile, AL, Savannah, GA, Bluffton/Hilton Head, SC, and Wilmington, NC. We photographed these locations with black and white film and medium format cameras to produce exhibition prints for the expansion of Bank of the Ozarks into these new market areas. Black and white photographs from these regions will be used as the fine art in the lobbies and offices of this Little Rock-based bank in their new coastal bank branches. Watch the website for portfolios of prints from each of these unique, culturally vibrant cities.
The winter solstice is upon us. Snow is falling in the northern Rocky Mountains and rains are coming to the Ozarks. Images of Winter 2010-11 are coming to the gallery.
The photograph, "UP No. 844_Blizzard_Near Cheyenne," in the Transportation: Steam Train: Color gallery has been accepted into the annual Small Works on Paper Show sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council. This exhibition will tour the state of Arkansas throughout 2011. The exhibition opens at the AETN Atrium in Conway and runs from January 6-27.
Prints of this image, "UP No. 844_Blizzard_Near Cheyenne" are also available at Cantrell Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas and Art Form Gallery in Van Buren, Arkansas.
During the month of March and April, Sandhill Cranes made their annual spring stopover along the Platte River between Grand Island and North Platte, Nebraska. I had the privilege of photographing and witnessing this great wonder of nature. It is estimated that some 500,000 cranes stop over for 2-4 weeks along this stretch of river, and it has been this way for thousands of years. The Rowe Sanctuary on the Platte River is a protected section of river and wetlands that provides refuge for these migrating birds. The Iain Nicolson Nature Center is supported by the Audubon Society and provides the hub of operations during the busy crane viewing season from late February to early April.
Another annual migration occurred during the same period this year on Nebraska's Platte River. That event was the movement of Union Pacific Railroad's steam locomotive No. 844 east from Cheyenne, Wyoming along the old historic Overland Route. The short train of "Armour Yellow" streamliner coaches was named the "Valley Eagle." The train steamed down through Kansas, Oklahoma and into the Rio Grande valley of southern Texas on what the railroad called the "Heritage Tour." The steam train then came back north through Arkansas and I photographed it coming into Van Buren, Arkansas on a cool rainy afternoon. The next morning my wife and some friends rode the train from Van Buren to Wagoner, Oklahoma.
Steam trains always photograph well in black and white. After all, during the heyday of steam railroading in the 1930s and '40s, most vintage photographs were made with black and white film. With today's digital photography, color images of steam locomotives and their trains gives us a new look at these romantic cultural artifacts from another era. Placed in the right landscape setting, steam trains in color become iconic pieces of art giving us a glimpse of life during our grandparents and great grandparents time.
This color gallery starts with images from Southern Pacific No. 4449's recent epic journey westbound back to it's homebase of Portland, Oregon. The steam train spent the summer in Michigan for special runs out of Owosso, MI. On this westward return, No. 4449 traveled along the southern border of Glacier National Park in Montana on 17 October 2009. The train crossed the Continental Divide at Marias Pass on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe's former Great Northern "Highline Route."
The other color additions to this gallery are from the historic Strasburg Rail Road in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This is Amish country, and tidy farms and fields spread across the rolling hills on the line to Paradise.
Steam trains in color may be found in the "Transportation: Steam Trains: Color" section of this website. These prints are available in open editions and as digital color prints on archival papers.
One of J. P. Bell's photographs, " Santa Fe Depot, Newton, Kansas" has been chosen recently for the Arkansas Arts Council's annual Small Works on Paper show for 2010. This print, a digital photograph on Somerset Velvet paper, also won a purchase award and will be added to the Arts Council's permanent collection. The exhibit opens in January 2010 at the Searcy Art Gallery in Searcy, Arkansas. The show then travels to nine other locations around the state. Information about dates may be obtained at http://www.arkansasarts.com/.
This photograph is a black and white image of Amtrak's "Southwest Chief" at the former Santa Fe Railroad depot in Newton, Kansas. A sign dating back to the 1950s advertising the old Fred Harvey Dining Room is visible in this night time photograph made at about 3 AM. The "Southwest Chief" paused briefly in the night and then departed for Kansas City, Chicago and points east.
This print is available as both a silver print and digital print in open editions and various sizes in the "Transportation: Stations and Depots" section of this website.
A new main gallery has been added. It is simply entitled " Wildlife" and will have images of birds and mammals from North America and East Africa. This past summer, my friend and fellow photographer, Gary Felker, introduced me to avian photography and rekindled my interest in ornithology. Birds in our lives give us daily drama and connection to the wilderness world beyond our towns and cities. This gallery will have images from our summer birding outings in Arkansas and archival images of wildlife from Montana and East Africa.
Another new gallery under "Transportation" has been added and is entitled, "Railroad Stations and Depots." This portfolio brings you images that convey the romance of travel, especially at night. There is adventure in just getting on a train and going somewhere.
I am currently scanning hundreds of the negatives I made before 1984. I will place these photographs into various galleries on this website. Check back from time to time to see these new vintage images. Look especially into the transportation sections for some new glimpses of life before the digital age. We shot everything on film in those analogue days. Let us hope that the digital age does not give us a nasty little surprise if our hard drives fail and our images produced with digital SLRs disappear forever. We might loose a lot of visual cultural history if digital disaster strikes.
Look for a new photo-essay and article by J. P. Bell in the June 2009 issue of Railroad and Railfan magazine about the new streetcar system in Little Rock/North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Here is wishing that everyone had a great start for the New Year in 2009. The end of 2008 brought many new images from the Ozarks and northern Rocky Mountains. Look for new photographs of railroading, aviation, and whitewater canoeing. I am posting new prints of the beautiful Southern Belle passenger train used by the Kansas City Southern Railway for their annual Christmas tour and business train.
Also starting this winter we light up the night with a new series of photographs on some of my favorite Ozark rivers. Paddlers and canoes, bluffs and waterfalls are illuminated by a series of powerful flashes with an Alien Bees studio strobe, 11" reflector, and a portable battery pack. The rivers and mountains are seen as never before in this new series of nighttime photographs.
New photography from northern Montana and the Glacier Park Boat Company’s vintage wooden boats are coming in the near future.
A New Day. God Bless America.
Read the December 2008 issue of Railroad and Railfan magazine to see a story and photographs by J. P. Bell on the use of Arkansas' Reader Railroad steam train used in filming the new western movie, Appaloosa.
Actor Ed Harris directed, produced and starred in this major motion picture made in northern New Mexico during October and November 2007. Joining Harris were actors Viggo Mortenson, Renee Zellweger, and Jeremy Irons.
Richard Grigsby brought his movie train from Arkansas to the Southwest for this production. Reader steam locomotive No. 2 rolled before the cameras for three days pulling a boxcar and two wooden coaches over the Santa Fe Southern Railway from Lamy to Santa Fe. The Reader Railroad included J.P. as part of the steam train crew to document the use of No. 2 in the movie production. Thanks are in order to Richard Grigsby and the directors and producers of Appaloosa for allowing Bell to photograph an Arkansas steam train in the movies.
Photographic prints of this train are available in the Transportation/Movie Trains/Color section of this website.
Welcome to the updated website for J.P. Bell's photography. This online gallery has been completely redone and should provide many new images from which to choose.
For the first time, digital prints are offered from this website. While the silver gelatin print from the darkroom remains the gold standard for black and white photography, the digital revolution changed everything. Digital color and monochrome prints are today works of art with their own high intrinsic value when printed with archival inks on fine art papers.
We are pleased to offer both traditional silver prints and digital Giclee prints in color and black and white from our gallery in Van Buren, Arkansas and from this online gallery. Cantrell Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas now sells our prints. Stop by Cantrell Gallery when you are in central Arkansas and view many of the Little Rock photographs found on this website.
Our new website has photography that is as current as this month and contains favorite images from 20 years ago. Due to the increased functionality of this website, thanks to Jack Brauer's design and software, you should see many new additions to this gallery on a regular basis. So, check back frequently to view fresh material from recent excursions and photography out of the past.