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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Link

A while back we went to Roanoke Va. for the 10th Anniversary of the O. Winston Link Museum. What???? You have no idea who O. Winston Link is????? Well, to tell the truth neither did we until a few years ago when we went to Roanoke to visit the Virginia Transportation Museum. While there we stopped in to the Visitors Bureau and there it was.
Link (the guy on the left) was a well known commercial photographer. You've probably seen his work in magazines of the 1950's but never knew it. He was born, lived, and worked mostly in New York City. But his passion was steam locomotives. Realizing that the era of the Steam Locomotive was nearing it's end, he decided to begin photographing them before they disappeared. From the early 1950's Link photographed  steam locomotives on the Norfolk & Western Railway in Virginia until the last one was retired. The N&W realized what great opportunity for free publicity this could be and gave Link permission to photograph anywhere on their property. His specialty was night photography.
Keep in mind that this is in the mid 1950's. No digital cameras back then. Link's main camera was a Speed Graphic. His lighting was from synchronized flash bulbs. Hundreds of them. To give the needed amount of light he designed and made his own reflectors as seen above. Being a commercial photographer, he was well versed in posing his subjects and setting the scene just as he wanted. The N&W even went as far as allowing Link to stop trains, have them back up, then pass again for his shot.
Rarely did Link ever alter or retouch his work. There was no 'Photo Shop' back then. Any touchups had to be done in the darkroom. Link liked adding people to his photos with the train in the background. Sometimes just part of the train was visible.



















Link did take day photos mostly along the Abington Branch of the N&W. He also enjoyed taking photos of the people that worked on the railroad or lived near it.
If you are in Roanoke, this is a must stop whether you are a rail fan, photography buff or just looking for something different. If you can't get to Roanoke you can see more of his amazing work by going  to O. Winston Link

Grenville (still in awe)

13 comments:

Country Gal said...

Fascinating stuff love the photos . I will pop over to the link and have a look . Papa and I like trains to .Thanks for sharing .Have a good day !

LONDONLULU said...

Oh wow, I've seen those two bottom photos and once bookmarked his stuff, but lost it ages ago with a computer crash. Thank you for showing these! He was a terrific photographer (amazing how many of them were quite obscure, despite the great body of work they left behind.)

Sandra said...

never heard of him... i will check out his work...

Montanagirl said...

I had never heard of him. But what great insight he had concerning the trains.

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

Not at all familiar with him or his work but considering all the photos with such dynamic contrast on steam locomotives it is fitting that there is a museum for him. A couple years ago we rode a tour locally on a special steam driven train. Apparently there are hobbyists who travel all over just to do so.

A Quiet Corner said...

Like others, I never heard of him either..thanks for the heads up!...:)JP

Out on the prairie said...

Neat shots. I used to go to the roundhouse with my grandfather and they had some vintage trains still around I was allowed to ride on.

Daisy said...

These are great photos! Thanks for sharing them.

sparkle100-havealook.blogspot.com said...

Thumbs up for your pix's. Oh I should
of not said that. Yikes!

Great photos.

barbara l. hale said...

I was just saying how much I enjoyed the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke. What fabulous photos he took! He was a patient photographer and it paid off.

William Kendall said...

I hadn't heard of him either, but his work is extraordinary!

diane b said...

Amazing stuff

Elaine said...

Fun to stumble on a museum you didn't know about and learn something new!

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