O. Winston Link
‘Hot Shot Eastbound, at the Iaeger Drive-In. W.V.’
“Ogle Winston Link, known commonly as O. Winston Link, has been revered by many as the most important railroad photographer of all time. He is best known for his black-and-white photography and sound recordings of the last days of steam locomotive railroading in the United States in the late 1950s. A true American master, Link produced night-time photographs of the railroad over a five-year period that ended when the last steam locomotive of the Norfolk & Western Railway was taken out of service in May 1960.
This exhibition features more than 100 framed photographs as well as Link’s actual photographic and lighting equipment, plus his personal notebooks detailing set-ups, formulas, and exposure details.”
I have to admit to a very large amount of admiration for this photographer. He is brilliant, simply the best photographer of trains and their cultural surrounds that the world has ever seen. He persevered within his photographic projects through thick and thin. I feel a special affinity toward this man as I love trains, planes, ships and trucks (although I am yet to use trains in my work).
As with all great photographers he pursued his goals with passion, a unique eye and the ability to produce a ‘signature’ photograph that could only be his. His photographs are timeless remembrances of the history and culture of the era. The above image combines all the elements of 1950s America – the drive in, the couple, the speed, the convertible car, night and the ambiguous slightly sinister rocket like plane. Planes, trains and automobiles are the stuff of legend for me, a child of the 1950s. The lighting of the train is incredible, with rows of flash set off at just the right moment. The precision and skill to do this and the resulting tableaux have few equals. When I first saw this image I was amazed and still am today!
O. Winston Link had a deep respect for the people and machines he was photographing – capturing a vanishing world before it all but disappeared. Thank god there was someone with vision and foresight to accomplish this task so that these incredible and indelible images will forever transcend the time in which they were taken, to give joy to the people that look at them.
Exhibition dates: October 11, 2008 – January 25, 2009