Oliver Jensen Gallery

Opened in July of 2008, the Oliver Jensen Gallery is located in River Valley Junction – the former Dickinson Witch Hazel bottling plant. Shows in the gallery are seasonal, usually featuring an exhibition in summer and winter. The gallery is named in honor of Oliver Jensen, one of the founders and chief visionary of The Valley Railroad Company. Mr. Jensen served many years as President and/or Chairman of the Company, dedicating his life to the preservation of this historic landmark that is now enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.

Current Exhibition   –   JUNE 16 – OCTOBER 22, 2017



Essex Steam Train & Riverboat welcomes “Echoes of Steam,” an exhibition by Dennis A. Livesey. An exhibition reception will be held in the Oliver Jensen Gallery at River Valley Junction on Friday, June 16 from 5-8 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The exhibit of 25 prints will remain on display until October 22, 2017. Admission to the gallery is always free, and is open during Essex Steam Train’s normal operating hours.

Dennis A. Livesey is known for his cinematic approach of interpreting rail transportation. Using digital cameras, his photographs employ strong composition and chiaroscuro lighting to express his ideas. He seeks steam locomotives – a machine obsolete in the USA since 1960 – to evoke a time and memory of journeys past and direction for the future.

Born in New York, he fell in love with trains and cameras as a toddler. Upon graduating NYU Film School, he began a career in film and television that would last the next 35 years. He can count credits from Rocky II & III, The Muppet Movie, Pollack, Big Night, Law & Order and HBO’s The Wire. He has been published in national calendars and feature articles in various railroad publications. His work has been recognized for the last four years by the Center for Railroad Photography and Art’s prestigious John E. Gruber Creative Photography annual awards program.

“Dennis brings his unique cinematographic approach to an iconic subject,” notes gallery curator Audrey Conrad.

Shooting trains since June 6, 1961, Livesey finds that capturing railroading today fills him with an excitement just the same as on that first day. “The Valley Railroad has drawn me as a visitor, volunteer and photographer time and again over the decades,” he recalls. “Recording this important American steam railroad experience has had a tremendous impact on my work as an artist and I now earnestly look forward to sharing it with others.” See more of his work at http://www.liveseyimages.com/.

Previous Exhibitions

Hidden in Plain Sight: An exhibit of the photographic work of Thomas J. Nanos 
Tom Nanos’ dedication to the art of photography had ebbed and flowed until late 2001 when he began photographing railroad operations.
November 9 – December 29, 2016

Railroads and the American Industrial Landscape: Ted Rose Paintings and Photographs
Ted Rose (1940–2002) dedicated much of his career to artistically capturing the railroad in American life and culture.
May 28 – October 23, 2016

Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
Artwork by members of the Essex Art Association
November 6 – December 29, 2015

The Railroad Photographs of Jim Shaughnessy
Jim Shaughnessy is heralded in the world of railroad photography as an innovator, artist and documentarian as the age of the steam locomotive gave way to modern diesel engines. Curated by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in Madison, Wisc.
June 25 – October 25, 2015

Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
Artwork by members of the Essex Art Association
November 14 – December 28, 2014

A Dozen Miles in a Decade: The Valley Railroad from Old Saybrook to Haddam – 2003-2013
An exhibit of the photographic work of Thomas J. Nanos
May 30 – October 26, 2014

Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
Artwork by members of the Essex Art Association
November 9 – December 29, 2013

On the Job
A Photo Essay by Caryn B. Davis
June 20 – October 27, 2013

Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
Artwork by members of the Essex Art Association
November 16 – December 27, 2012

Requiem for Steam
The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden
June 24 – September 5, 2011

Remembering Steam Locomotives
by Frank Barry
June 3 – August 29, 2010

Locomotive Quarterly Covers
by Robert Hauschild
June 25 – October 12, 2009

Pinhole Revisited
The Photography of Brandon Dole
May 13 – June 21, 2009

Original Artwork for “Old 97 Saves the Day”
Gretchen Hatfield
Nov 22 – Dec 28, 2008

Faces of Essex Steam Train & Riverboatonline
Caryn B. Davis
July 13 – Oct 10, 2008

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