An Iowan's photograph will be on a new US postage stamp. Here's how to get yours:

Every year, the United States Postal Service launches several collections of new stamps that are dedicated to holidays, art, famous people and more.

This year, Iowa's own Phil Roeder, spokesperson for Des Moines Public Schools, is one of the artists bestowed with the honor of having their work featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

The collection of 10 stamps that Roeder's photo is featured in, "Carnival Nights," features scenes of fairs and carnivals — full of vibrant neon lights, rides and fireworks against the night sky — from across the country. Roeder's stamp will include an image of the Ferris wheel at the Iowa State Fair.

A rendering of Iowan Phil Roeder's photo that will be featured in the "Carnival Nights" stamp collection.
A rendering of Iowan Phil Roeder's photo that will be featured in the "Carnival Nights" stamp collection.

Roeder originally took the photo to be used on the stamp in the summer of 2014.

"I'm pleased that they even included at least one photo of the Iowa State Fair," he said. "I don't think you could do a series on carnival nights and ignore the State Fair."

Roeder regularly works with royalty-free website Getty Images, which is how U.S. Postal Service found the photo.

"These will probably end up mostly in the bottom of people's garbage cans after they open their mail, but it's still a nice way and rewarding way to share something that you made," Roeder said. "If nothing else this shows my photograph is first class."

How are photos chosen to be on stamps?

Stamps are selected by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, members of which are appointed by the postmaster general. The group selects subjects for future stamp issues.

"Whether young or young at heart, everyone loves spending a summer evening at a carnival," a brief on the "Carnival Nights" stamp collection from USPS says. "The stomach-twisting thrill rides, the indulgent snacks and sweets, and the general spirit of light-hearted fun make America’s carnivals and fairs a place for visitors of any age to enjoy."

Roeder's photo was chosen because it fit the "Carnival Nights" theme and the USPS' criteria for stamps.

“We chose to use this photograph of a Ferris wheel because it, along with the others, captures the color and lights and motion of the carnival," USPS art director Greg Breeding said in a statement to the Register. "The perspective is from the ground, almost like someone who might be waiting in line for a ride. It’s a little intimidating but also fun, so it very much captures the spirit of the Carnival Nights issuance.”

How do I get the Iowan's stamp?

The "Carnival Nights" collection won't be available until June 6 but will be available for preorder at the beginning of May on the USPS website,

Customers who preorder will not receive the stamps in the mail before June 6.

Once they are fully released, they will be available to purchase at the USPS website or at your local USPS location. They will cost the same as an average stamp — 68 cents a piece or $13.60 for a book of 20.

Who is Phil Roeder?

Phil Roeder
Phil Roeder

Roeder, the director of communications and public affairs for Des Moines Public Schools, does more than handle media requests and maintain the school district's website and social media presence. He also is a photographer, having his work in publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, NPR, Forbes and other major news outlets.

Roeder went back to school in 2023 and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography at Arizona State University. He is currently pursuing his master's in photography from Falmouth University, which is based in England.

"I guess, in a way, I'm practicing what I preach with my day job with my position at the school district," Roeder said. "It was a rewarding experience not only what I learned in my (photography) program, but also to have that vantage point of being a student again."

Kyle Werner is a reporter for the Register. Reach him at

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowan will have his Iowa State Fair photo featured on a new stamp