O. Winston Link  (American, 1914-2001) 

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O. Winston Link (American, December 16, 1914–January 30, 2001) was a commercial photographer and pioneer in the art of night photography. Link's introduction to photography came at a young age from his father. He soon grew to love the art, and went on to work as a photo editor for his college newspaper at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, where he received his civil engineering degree.

After graduation in 1937, Link began to work at Carl Byoir's public relations firm as a commercial photographer. He learned the advanced skills of a professional photographer while working at the firm over the following five years. During this period, he produced the photo Girl on Ice, which was featured in Life magazine as an example of the classic publicity photo. Link left Byoir to work at the Airborne Instruments Laboratory in 1942, taking photos of devices made for low-flying airplanes meant to detect submarines for World War II. This work lasted until the war's end in 1945, at which time Link opened his own studio in New York in 1946. Just as with the work at Byoir, Link's studio focused on public relations photos.

The focus of Link's photography changed in 1955 due to his love of railroads. During a photography job, Link began to take photos of the Norfolk and Western Railway line. The N&W was one of the last railroads to switch from steam to diesel engines, leaving the company with some of the most advanced steam locomotives in the world. The railroad announced the transition to diesel in 1955, and Link's photographs of some of the last steam engines served as a documentary of the passing of the steam locomotive era. By the completion of the transition in 1960, Link had taken about 2400 negatives over the course of 20 visits to the Virginia location of the railroad. Many of these images were taken at night as a way to control the lighting. This control was often achieved by large flashes, with his famous Hotshot Eastbound, a photo of a train running past a movie theater, requiring 42 #2 flashbulbs and a #0 flash. The night shots were taken in black-and-white, and the color shots taken at the N&W Abingdon branch. Link's photos have been exhibited in such places as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke. The museum also handles Link's work for his estate.

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O. Winston Link, Hot Shot Eastbound at the Drive-In, Ieager, West Virginia, August 2

 

O. Winston Link
Hot Shot Eastbound at the Drive-In, Ieager, West Virginia, August 2
1956
end time: Apr 18, 2014 12:09 PM EST
artnet Auctions
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O. Winston Link, Birmingham Special, Rural Retreat, Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Birmingham Special, Rural Retreat, Virginia
1957

Danziger Gallery
O. Winston Link, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Pope watch the last steam powered passenger train. Max Meadows, Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Mr. and Mrs. Ben Pope watch the last steam powered passenger train. Max Meadows, Virginia
1958

Danziger Gallery
O. Winston Link, Shaffers Crossing Roundhouse. Roanoke, West Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Shaffers Crossing Roundhouse. Roanoke, West Virginia
1958

Danziger Gallery
O. Winston Link, Swimming Pool, Welch, West Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Swimming Pool, Welch, West Virginia
1958

Danziger Gallery
O. Winston Link, Sometimes the Electricity Fails, Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Sometimes the Electricity Fails, Virginia
1956

Danziger Gallery
O. Winston Link, Living Room on the Tracks, Lithia, Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Living Room on the Tracks, Lithia, Virginia
1956

Danziger Gallery
O. Winston Link, Maud bows to the Virginia Creeper

 

O. Winston Link
Maud bows to the Virginia Creeper
1956

Danziger Gallery
O. Winston Link, Main Line on Main Street, North Fork, West Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Main Line on Main Street, North Fork, West Virginia
1958

Danziger Gallery
Past auction results (598)  View All
O. Winston Link, Hawksbill Creek Swimming Hole, Luray, Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
Hawksbill Creek Swimming Hole, Luray, Virginia, 1955
silver print

 

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O. Winston Link, NW, 1635, The Birmingham Special Gets the High Ball in Rural Retreat, VA, 1957

 

O. Winston Link
NW, 1635, The Birmingham Special Gets the High Ball in Rural Retreat, VA, 1957, 1635
gelatin silver print

 

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O. Winston Link, NW 1345 - Ghost Town, Stanley, Virginia

 

O. Winston Link
NW 1345 - Ghost Town, Stanley, Virginia, 1957
gelatin silver print

 

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1914   Born Ogle Winston Link on December 16, 1914 in Brooklyn, NY
1937   Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, Polytechnic Institute (now Polytechnic University), Brooklyn, NY
1937 - 1942   Worked as a photographer for New York City public relations firm Carl Byoir Associates
1942   Went to work for Columbia Institute Laboratory in Mineola, Long Island where he performed secret war research for the U.S. Government
1942   Because of the proximity of the LIRR to the lab where he worked and his ongoing interest in trains, he started taking photographs of the trains
1945   Began working independently as a photographer after WWII
1955 - 1960   Photographed the trains on the Norfolk & Western Railroad in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina
1960   Returned to New York and continued as a commercial photographer
2000   He agreed to the creation of the O. Winston Link Museum to be located in the historic Norfalk & Western Passenger Station in Roanoke, VA, and the station was restored and refurbished by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy
2001   Died in South Salem, NY
2004   The O. Winston Link Museum opened
2000   Classic & Rare Photographs of America’s Steam Railroad, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
2000   Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA (solo)
1999   Andrew Smith Gallery, Santa Fe, NM (solo)
1999   The Photographer’s Gallery, London (solo)
1998   The Ralls Collection, Washington, DC (solo)
1998   Expanded Visions: The Panoramic Photograph. Addison Gallery of American Art, Philips Academy, Andover, MA.
1998   Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1997   10th Anniversary Exhibition, Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1997   G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
1997   Trains That Pass in the Night, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE
1996   Last Steam Railroad in America, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
1996   Picturing the South: 1860 to the Present, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
1995   Rails, Trails, and Back Roads: O. Winston Link and Other Photographers, William King Regional Arts Center, Abingdon, VA
1995   Last Steam Railroad in America, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1995   James Danziger Gallery, New York, NY
1995   Spaces for the Self: The Symbolic Imagery of Place, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago, IL
1994   Preview of the 1994/95 Exhibition Year, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
1994   Steam, Steel & Stars: Photographs by O. Winston Link, Center for Metropolitan Studies, University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO (solo)
1994   Transport, Curated by Helen Miranda Wilson, Maier Museum of Art, Randolf-Macon Women's College, Lynchburg, VA
1993   Night Trick, Photo Gallery International, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1992   The Ghost Trains, Dean Jensen Gallery, Milwaukee, WI (solo)
1992   American Industrialism, 1902-1992, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
1992   Works by Gallery Artists, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
1991   Special Edition Prints, James Danziger Gallery, New York, NY; and Robert Burge/20th Century Photographs, Ltd., New York, NY (solo)
1990   America's Last Steam Railroad, The Camera Obscura Gallery, Denver, CO (solo)
1989   Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
1988   Vintage Photographs, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1982   Floods of Light: Flash Photography 1851-1981, The Photographers' Gallery, London, UK
  New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
  Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
  Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH
  Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  High Museum of Art, Atlanta, CA
  International Center of Photography, New York, NY
  Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
  Madison Art Center, Madison, WI
  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
  Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
  Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1999    The American Art Book, London, Phaidon Press, Ltd.
1997    The Photography Book, London, Phaidon Press, Ltd.
1995    The Last Steam Railroad in America: Photographs by O. Winston Link, Thomas H. Garver, Harry N. Abrams Publishing, New York, NY
1987    Steam, Steel, and Stars: America's Last Steam Railroad, Tim Hensley, Harry N. Abrams Publishing, New York, NY
1983    Night Trick: Photographs of the Norfolk & Western Railway, Norfolk & Western Railway - publishers, Norfolk, VA