Photographer’s Work Leads To Hope for Restoration of Locomotive

  • August 20, 2018
The following article was written by Lisa Pellegrene, and was originally published on on August 7, 2018. Thomas W.P. Slatin, based in Upstate New York focuses on urban exploration photography. This has lead to restoration.

Thomas W.P. Slatin is a lifelong writer and photographer, since around the age of eight. Slatin is also a prior 17 year firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He began to incorporate more of a focus on photography into his life when he chose to transition his work to become a full-time writer and photographer. He recalls much of his early photography work “revolving around his work schedule as an EMT and a firefighter,” when his location scouting would be simply recognizing various locations of interest that he noticed to and from work. Since making the transition to full-time writing and photography, Thomas Slatin has photographed a variety of images from abandoned locations, to trains and train stations and sometimes, beautiful nature photography.

In a recent interview, Slatin discussed photographing The Eastern State Penitentiary, as well as the fiberglass whale model at The American Museum of Natural History, and abandoned freight trains and locomotives. His choice of camera has been “consistent over the years,” states Slatin, as the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi. Slatin continued, “the Eastern State Penitentiary definitely required a pre-production and planning process.” Also, all of the photographs from the photography shoot were taken in black and white. “Many more of my photographs are obtained on an impromptu basis. I simply see an interesting location to photograph and do so,” summarized Slatin. One such favorite relating to his photography shoots included The American Museum of Natural History, where Slatin photographed the 94 foot, 21,000 pound, blue fiberglass model of a female whale. The model is of a whale found in 1925. The beautiful female whale to many symbolizes one’s responsibility to respect, appreciate and protect all sentient beings, in and out of the water, and to have utmost respect for the environment and the need to protect the environment also. “This trip meant a lot to me on a personal level, the photographs mean a lot to me also,” Slatin continued, “as a child I had been absolutely fascinated with this model whale exhibit; so seeing this as an adult, accompanied by my father, was an indescribably amazing experience.” Stating, “the image of the whale at The American Museum of Natural History is very special to me.” This was the last trip Thomas Slatin took with his late father, Dr. Harvey L. Slatin, before Dr. Slatin’s passing in his early 90’s. Slatin’s father inspired him to become a photographer, as his first camera and many more thereafter, were gifted to Slatin by his dad, Dr. Harvey Slatin. Thomas Slatin stated, “some of my happiest moments in photography have included photographing abandoned freight trains and locomotives. “About a month after I had posted the photographs online of these specific trains, I received a phone call from a man stating that he was a collector from Connecticut.” Slatin did his research to determine that this man was in fact a collector. “What I’ve learned is that this locomotive has been purchased by a museum, and that there is the hope of restoration for the locomotive referred to as Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) 4917. The image of the train located in Cooperstown Junction, New York, as photographed by Slatin (prior to the restoration) is published with this article. The second train image as published is a recent photograph (2018) of the Strasburg Railroad, also as photographed by Slatin. Thomas W.P. Slatin concluding, “this (Cooperstown, New York) was an all time favorite photo shoot for me, and to learn an otherwise abandoned freight train was purchased by a museum and that there are hopes for restoration is great to hear.” Slatin’s photography work was just selected for the third time over the years, to appear on the Jones Soda Company soda bottles. His photography is available on, and by subscribing to his blog at ###
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16 Comments on Photographer’s Work Leads To Hope for Restoration of Locomotive

  • Belle says:
    August 21, 2019 at 7:59 AM

    It’s nice when your line of work creates a great impact in the community. This is a such a great news to hear. All the best to you, Thomas!


  • miakayuuki2012 says:
    August 20, 2019 at 10:31 PM

    Restoration is a must to bring things back to life if not to relevance. Provided it can still be done. I know this is old tech but it can be at least a museum piece. Love to see the before and after.


  • Meldred Judith says:
    August 20, 2019 at 7:14 PM

    Following your hearts desire and passion, always leads you to the right track. There is nothing more fulfilling than fulfilling your own dreams.


  • Daphne says:
    August 20, 2019 at 6:03 PM

    This is what happens when you do what you love and thrive in it. You actually effect real world changes.


  • Oliver says:
    August 20, 2019 at 6:01 PM

    I’m surprised your photos led to the hope for restoration of the locomotive. That is impressive to say the least!


  • Patricia says:
    August 20, 2019 at 6:00 PM

    Your photos are very striking and moving. No wonder they have such a profound effect on people.


  • Meg W says:
    August 20, 2019 at 5:58 PM

    This is a moving story. The simple act of photography gave a new lease of life to this locomotive.


  • Roy says:
    August 20, 2019 at 5:57 PM

    It is great that your work has actually made a real impact on the world. Not many people can say that.


  • David Mureithi says:
    August 20, 2019 at 3:24 PM

    I’m impressed with what your work is doing. It’s good to see things going in the right way for you and everything you photograph.


  • Danielle M says:
    August 20, 2019 at 11:42 AM

    The style of your work is very unique and get to touch many people, I’m glad that we can count with somebody like you in this world.


  • Rae says:
    August 20, 2019 at 9:00 AM

    Photo restoration is such a wonderful miracle! Old photos are given new life because of this. Love the article. Thank you for sharing!


  • brainedet says:
    August 20, 2019 at 6:45 AM

    Writing since the age of 8 is a pretty long time and you have been so consistent with it. This is why we all need passion and drive for our work.


  • esgyll says:
    August 20, 2019 at 5:04 AM

    I really like how your photographs saves countless abandoned locomotives’ “lives”. Keep on doing this great work Mr. Slatin.


  • Oyeyipo Oladele says:
    August 20, 2019 at 4:26 AM

    I kept pronouncing you and your work as the BEST Tomslatin. TOM you are second to nobody. Thanks for this post.


  • Segun OGUNYEMI says:
    August 20, 2019 at 4:04 AM

    Lovely pictures you have there, Sir Thomas. Your consistency as a photographer really paid off. Thanks for the post


  • jolly555 says:
    August 20, 2019 at 12:57 AM

    slatin I have always admire your work and this is another creative side of you. Photography was really your calling from that is why you can do it perfectly right.


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