OGLE WINSTON LINK (1914-2001)

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THE PELICAN AT RURAL RETREAT, 1957 by OGLE WINSTON LINK (1914-2001) - photograph for sale from Beetles & Huxley

THE PELICAN AT RURAL RETREAT, 1957

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P.O.A

HAWKSBILL CREEK SWIMMING HOLE, LURRAY, VIRGINIA, 1956 by OGLE WINSTON LINK (1914-2001) - photograph for sale from Beetles & Huxley

HAWKSBILL CREEK SWIMMING HOLE, LURRAY, VIRGINIA, 1956

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P.O.A

HOT SHOT EAST BOUND AT LAEGER, WEST VIRGINIA, 1956 by OGLE WINSTON LINK (1914-2001) - photograph for sale from Beetles & Huxley

HOT SHOT EAST BOUND AT LAEGER, WEST VIRGINIA, 1956

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P.O.A

 

Ogle Winston Link, known as O. Winston Link was born in Brooklyn, New York on 16 December 1914. His father, a public school teacher, encouraged him to develop an early interest in woodworking, arts and crafts and photography. Link's early photography was created with a borrowed medium format Autographic Kodak camera, and by the time he was in high school he had built his own photographic enlarger. Link attended the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, where he worked as a photo editor for the institute's newspaper. He graduated in 1937, with a degree in civil engineering. Upon graduation, he was offered a job as a photographer at the public relations firm, Carl Byoir Associates. He worked at the company from 1937 to 1942, and there mastered his photography skills.

When World War II reached the United States, Link found himself unable to join the military as a result of mumps-induced hearing loss. For the war's duration, Link worked for the Airborne Instruments Laboratory, as both project engineer and photographer. In 1945, Link opened up his own studio in New York City, becoming a professional photographer with a reputation for industrial photographs of factory interiors. Although he had developed an aesthetic and conceptual curiosity for the railway system in America throughout the Second World War, it did not fully develop until a trip to Stanton, Virginia in 1955.

From then on, Link financed his own project of documenting the Norfolk and Western Railway Line. He took his first night photograph of the Norfolk and Western Railway Line in 1955. In the same year Norfolk and Western announced its first conversion to diesel and Link's work became a documentation of the end of the steam era. His engineering background made him meticulous with his photography and he soon became obsessed by the American railway. Link's images were always meticulously set up and posed, and he chose to take most of his photographs at night, stating, I can't move the sun and it's always in the wrong place and I can't even move the tracks, so I had to create my own environment though lighting.

He began recording the sounds of the trains, and released them as a set entitled "Sounds of Steam Railroading". He not only focused on the trains, but also documented the trackside communities, and the blue-collar Americans performing their jobs, so creating a social record of the railways and their impact. Many of his railway photographs were published in a magazine called "Trains", as well in numerous photography books, his most famous being "Steam Steel & Stars", "America's Last Steam Railroad" (1987).

From 1940 until his retirement in 1983, Link worked primarily in advertising photography, shooting for various large companies. On 30 January 2001, he died of a heart attack near his home in South Salem, Westchester County, New York. At the time of his death he was working on the O Winston Link Museum at the Norfolk and Western Passenger Station in Roanoke, Virginia. It opened in 2004.

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