woensdag 12 maart 2014

“Night Trick” on the Norfolk and Western Railway For CEO’s Only Foto Industria Bologna 2013 Ogle Winston Link Company Photography

“Night Trick” on the Norfolk and Western Railway
Publisher: Norfolk and Western Railway, Roanoke, Virginia
Year of publication: 1957
Binding: paperback
Size: 215 x 278 mm
Number of pages: 16
Number of illustrations: 16 black & white photographs
Type of illustrations: landscape and documentary photography
Type of reproduction: offset
Photography: Ogle Winston Link
Text: Norfolk and Western Railway
Type: promotional book
Collection: Bart Sorgedrager, Amsterdam

‘This book, made for the Norfolk and Western Railway in Virginia, might not be large, but many of O. Winston Link’s (1914-2001) classic images are in there, and given fine reproduction. Link, who is formulating a vision of the United States as conservative and as precisely calculated as that of Norman Rockwell, generally creates a foreground tableau and has a train, steam blowing behind, rushing by in the background. [...] Link’s vision is, of course, a fabrication, a very persuasive one based on the idea of community. He shows the United States going about its business and leisure, keeping the commercial, social and cultural life of the country flowing as it should.’ From: Badger, Gerry & Martin Parr (ed.), The Photobook: A History volume 2, Phaidon Press, London: 2006, pp.188-189

For CEO’s Only is a selection of international company photobooks from the private collection of professional photographer Bart Sorgedrager, based in Amsterdam. Research assistant Clara Jankowski (MA Master Photographic Studies, Leiden University) has compiled a bibliography and captions for this particular selection of company photobooks and is presented in the exhibition as FOR CEO’S ONLY (alluding to the title of a company photobook by Richard Avedon for M&A Group in New York).

Birmingham Special at Rural Retreat, Virginia, 1957 (Printed in 2000)
O. Winston Link is the commonly known name for the American artist Ogle Winston Link. O. Winston Link was born on December 16, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York and spent his childhood there with his mother, father and two siblings. While growing up the father of O. Winston Link, Albert Link, was a woodworking teacher in the public school system in Brooklyn, and encouraged his children to explore an interest in craftsmanship and the arts. Under his father’s guidance O. Winston Link developed a love for tools, photography, and the beauty of the industrial sights in New York.

O. Winston Link explored his passion for photography in his teens by studying the photographic craft while working at a local photo store, and developing his own enlarger during high school. After graduating high school O. Winston Link attended The Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, where his love for industrial technology caused him to pursue a major in civil engineering. O. Winston Link continued practicing photography through the institute’s newspaper by becoming the photo editor. O. Winston Link never got the opportunity to become a civil engineer because upon graduation Carl Byoiroffered O. Winston Link a job as a photographer with his public relations firm.

Until 1942, O. Winston Link worked with Carl Byoir Associates and developed himself as a photographic artist. O. Winston Link utilized photography as a way to communicate with others through the authentic style of his photographs, which was a skill that would help to build his career as an artist. After five years at Carl Byoir Associates, O. Winston Link left his job there due to the onset of World War II. O. Winston Link began to work with the Columbia Institute Laboratory in Mineola, Long Island as a project engineer and photographer, working specifically with photographing the construction of low-flying planes designed to search for enemy submarines. While working in Long Island O. Winston Link spent his free time photographing the Long Island Railroad near the lab, which revived his fascination with the beauty of steam locomotives. When the war ended in 1945 Carl Byoir’s firm invited O. Winston Link to return, but he turned them down and decided to pursue a career as an independent, professional photographer.

O. Winston Link soon developed himself as a photographer of industrial and factory spaces. During an industrial photography trip to Staunton, Virginia in 1955 the Norfolk and Western Railway inspired O. Winston Link. The N&W Railway was the last line in the United States to convert from steam to diesel motive power. As O. Winston Link began to photograph the railway the N&W made the first steps to convert to diesel motive power, turning O. Winston’s photographs into the visual records of the final era of a once revolutionary transportation method. Although O. Winston Link had not planned on beginning such a project, he was so motivated by the idea that he decided to use his own time and funds to pursue it. O. Winston Link was given permission to pursue this project and have full access to the tracks by the president of the N&W, R. H. Williams. The officials, employees, and passengers of the N&W soon began to recognize O. Winston Link as an artist documenting a piece of American history as he began to record this specific part of American life.

Over the next five years O. Winston Link would take 2,400 photographs, mostly produced on 4x5 film with a Graphic View Camera. Traveling to towns in Virgina, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland, O. Winston Link dedicated himself to documenting not only the railway, but the life and communities that had grown up around the Norfolk and Western Railway. Although O. Winston Link photographed all aspects of the N&W, he is well known for the photographs he made through the method of photographing the railway at night in black and white film. To do so O. Winston Link created his own form of flash photography in order to capture as much detail as possible of the large locomotives and railway scenes. Preparing these photographic scenes was a huge endeavor that required O. Winston Link to often have many assistants, large-scale photographic equipment, and impeccable timing in order to get the right photograph. The process was extensive, but it allowed O. Winston Link to capture the awe-inspiring black and white night photographs that are today seen as a beautifully captured record of American industrial history. The dramatic contrast between the illuminated areas and the cast shadows in his photographs, as well as the candid quality of life along the railway makes the work of O. Winston Link stand out from other industrial photographers of his era. During this project O. Winston Link also experimented with color photographs shot during the day, as well as sound recordings of the steam engines.

In 1960, O. Winston Link finished his project photographing the Norfolk and Western Railway, and returned to his work as an independent artist, often being employed to take photographs of construction projects or advertisement endeavors. As the country’s mentality was moving toward newer forms of technology and ignoring the past the N&W project did not cause O. Winston Link immediate fame when it was completed. Railway fans initially supported the work of O. Winston Link as his sound recordings and photos were published in the 1950s. It was not until 1983 that O. Winston Link developed greater fame when the public was given access to his photographs through a traveling exhibition. In the same year O. Winston Link retired as a photographer and moved to South Salem, New York. O. Winston Link continued to gain fame when a book collection of his railroad work Steam, Steel, and Stars was published in 1987, followed by another book collection The Last Steam Railroad, published in 1995.

In 2000, O. Winston Link granted his permission for a museum dedicated to him and his work to be built in Roanoke, Virginia. O. Winston Link assisted in the planning and organization of the museum until the opening in 2006. The O. Winston Link Museum celebrates his work as not only that of an artist, but as the work of an historian who beautifully captured a chapter of American history. Combining photography, sound recordings, and film taken during the artistic endeavors of O. Winston Link, the museum gives the viewers a first hand glimpse into how the steam engines and industrial scenes in America inspired O. Winston Link.

O. Winston Link died on January 30, 2001 close to his home in South Salem, New York.

Sources include:
O. Winston Link: Photography Book, Phaidon Press Limited, London, England, 1997
Camera at Work: O. Winston Link, Kenneth Miller, Life, New York, NY, December 1996, p. 96-100
The Last Steam Railroad in America: Photographs by O. Winston Link, Thomas H. Garver, Harry N. Abrams Publishing,
New York, NY, 1995
The Night tricks of O. Winston Link, American Photo, vol. 5, no. 4, July/August 1994
O. Winston Link, Steam, Steel, and Stars: America’s Last Steam Railroad, Tim Hensley, Harry N. Abrams Publishing,
New York, NY, 1987
O. Winston Link, Bryan Hatchett, USA Today, McLean, VA, October 29, 1987
O. Winston Link: Ghost Trains, Railroad Photographs of the 1950s, Chrysler Museum Library, New York, NY, 1983
Night Trick by O. Winston Link: Photographs of The Norfolk & Western Railway, 1955-60, Rupert Martin, The Photographers Gallery, London, England, June 17 - August 27, 1983 (catalogue)
O. Winston Link: Mr. Link hails the train, Kathy Field Stephen, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston MA, September 19, 1983
O. Winston Link: International Center of Photography, Charles Hagen, Artforum, New York, NY, November 1983
The Mixed Train: Photography by O. Winston Link, David Morgan, Trains: The Magazine of Railroading, July 1957

See for 

de Nederlandse Spoorwegen & het Bedrijfsfotoboek

Geen opmerkingen: