“At eight years old I lived with my father in Delaware. We often drove two hours back to New York City, where we lived previous, and where I eventually ended up again. Leaving in the early morning in order to beat traffic, after about an hour driving — through America — the sun would begin to rise in the east over the New Jersey landscape. I often slept most of the trip, but this time I awoke beside dad in the pick up truck. It was a particularly rich sunrise, and as I looked out from the window as he drove I spotted a most intriguing sight. Against the bright sky in the east, a colorful hot-air balloon rose up above the landscape, its translucence illuminated with the rising sun. Focused instead on his drive, dad seemed to have missed the sight. Strangely enough, his missing out made it only more special — amid the young life I was living was this confidential moment of solitude, wonder and mystery.” -JS

Coursing through landscapes of transportation, leisure, residence, industry and decay, Sanderson’s work investigates America’s national character. Drawn to rendering the broadly familiar in a specific way, his photographs are captured on foot or during time on the road, where he feels most creative.  According to subject and intent, cameras ranging from large format film to hand-held digital are used. Born and raised in New York City, much of his work is a response to these surroundings. Here his interest in architecture extends into the non-metropolitan sections of the country and his unabashed portraits recollect the New York City streets.

John specializes in large-format location work and is available to travel. For private commissions, please get in contact by clicking here.


American Traditions, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA, 2017

Railroad Landscapes, New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2014 – 2016

CRPA Exhibition: Railroad Landscapes, Glen Rowan House, Lake Forest, Illinois, 2016

The High Iron: Northeast Railroad Landscapes, Ten43 Gallery, New York,  NY, 2011


7 Train: Minutes to Midtown, New York Transit Museum, Grand Central Terminal Gallery Annex

Life Framer Awards 2017 International Exhibitions

Royal Photographic Society International Print Exhibition, United Kingdom (London, Bath, Edinburgh, Belfast), 2016 – 2017

Red, SE Center for Photography, Greenville, SC, 2017

Structures, LoosenArt LAB-A Gallery, 52 Cagliari, Italy, 2016

Man in the Landscape, PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, VT, 2016 (Juror’s Choice Award – Brett L. Erickson)

Tell Me a Story, The B Complex Gallery, Atlanta, GA, 2016

WE: AMEricans, Station Independent Projects, New York, NY, 2016

Imagined Realities, PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, VT, 2016

Dada Lives!, University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash, OH, 2016

Art Now 2016: Photography 2016, Ann Arbor Art Center,  Ann Arbor, MI, 2016 (Best in Show)

All Aboard! Railroads & The Historic Landscapes They Travel, Monmouth Museum, Lincroft NJ 2014

Joy Wai Gallery Art Talks (curated by Joy Wai and Montgomery Taylor), United Nations Plaza, New York, NY, 2013

Annual RxArt Auction, Milk Studios, New York, NY, 2012

Hope, Change, Progress, Art Focus for America, New York, NY, 2008


Artist-in-Residence, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Brush Creek, Wyoming, 2015

Center for Railroad Photography & Art, Docent Scholarship Program, Lake Forest, Illinois, 2013, 2015


Guest Speaker, Center for Railroad Photography & Art Annual Conference, Lake Forest, Illinois, 2016

Educator, Art on the Tracks: Teens Photograph the End of the Line, New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2015, 2016

Artist’s Talk, Railroad Landscapes: The Documentary and Poetic, New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2015

Artist’s Talk, United Nations Plaza, New York, NY, 2013


Art on the Tracks: Teens Photograph the End of the Line Exhibition, New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2016

Art on the Tracks: Teens Photograph Forgotten Railways, New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2015


New York Transit Museum

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Metro North Railroad

Center for Railroad Photography & Art

NTR Partners




Subjectively, Objective – National Character: Monograph/Limited Edition Prints

BBC News – In pictures: The empty railways of America

Terrain.Org – Landscape // Bisected: American Railroads // A photo essay by John Sanderson

New Landscape Photography – Highway Arbor

Love Exploring: Railroad Landscape

Mirror UK: Railways of America

Oxford American – Eyes on the South: The Counterpoint

Railroad Heritage, Winter 2017, J.B. Jackson and the Railroad Landscape

Obscura Land Volume 2, Subjectively Objective

Life Framer “Still Life” Winner, 2017

Streithouse, Winter 2017

Postcard Collective, Winter 2017

2016    Humble Arts Foundation, group show 50, ‘Roid Rage

Life Framer “Youth hood” Honorary Mention

LoosenArt, Interview and Gallery, John Sanderson

L’Oeil de la Photographie, American Traditions + Railroad Landscape

YET Magazine, American Traditions by John Sanderson

SLATE, These Photos Ask: What does it mean to be an American?

The Photo Review Competition Issue

Humble Arts Foundation, group show 49, I Love Kanye

Huffington Post Greece, Photographing Locomotives of a Bygone Era in America

PhotoArt Mag, Interview, Photography of John Sanderson

iGNANT – American Traditions

Detroit News, Abstract, figurative photos at Ann Arbor Art Center

Review, ART NOW,  New Directions in Contemporary Photography

2015   Wall Street Journal, The Urban Gardner, Riding the Rails, Without Seeing a Train

Il Post, Un treno chiamato desiderio

Stars & Stripes: The American Flag in Contemporary Art, E. Ashley Rooney & Stephanie Standish

SLATE Magazine Behold, The Hidden Beauty of American Train Travel

Ain’t Bad Magazine Features, American Traditions

Sunday Telegraph, Stay on Track: Our Pick of the ‘passives’

Feature Shoot Recommends: Top 10 Photo Events in New York

Gizmodo REFRAME, Beautiful Lonely Railroads Winding Through America’s Landscape

Fraction Magazine, Issue 74, May 2015, The Seventh Anniversary Issue

Peter Nitsch, get ADDICTED to, Railroad Landscapes By John Sanderson

Design You Trust, Railroad Landscapes by John Sanderson

All About Photo, John Sanderson

Best Of Photography.com, John Sanderson

2014     NBC News Interview, Railroad Landscapes Exhibition at New York Transit Museum

TransitTransit News, Railroad Landscapes Exhibition at New York Transit Museum

Beautiful Photos of Railroad Landscapes Coming to Transit Museum

These Photos Will Make You Pine For Long Train Rides On The MTA

2013    TRAINS Magazine “Beyond the train: One scholarship helps artist add Midwest rail art to his portfolio”

Willson Cummer, New Photography

Ain’t Bad Magazine


BA, Political Science, Hunter College, New York, NY, 2008