O. Winston Link is America's most celebrated railroad photographer. Link began photographing the Norfolk and Western, the last major steam railroad in the United States, in the mid 1950s, when the N&W was converting its operations from steam to diesel. Link's N&W project captured the railroad industry at a moment of transition, before the triumph of the automobile and the airplane that ended passenger service on the line and before the corresponding dramatic reduction in the workforce. And, just as importantly, Link's work reveals a small town way of life that was about to experience seismic shifts and in many cases vanish completely. The images in O. Winston Link: Life Along the Line focus on the people and communities surrounding the railroad, in particular recording life in the Appalachian portion of the Norfolk & Western's service area. The book is published in cooperation with the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, Virginia, which holds the complete archive of Link's N&W project. It replaces two previous Abrams books on Link, Steam, Steel & Stars and The Last Steam Railroad in America. O.
Winston Link: Life Along the Line offers a broad view of the entire range of Link's portfolio of the last years of the Norfolk and Western in steam, including excellent examples of both the keystone work and of the photographs, such as modernist images, that have not been previously published.
O. Winston Link (1914 2001) photographed the last major steam railroad in America, the Norfolk and Western, in 1955 60. A successful advertising photographer as well as a superb and innovative technician, Link undertook and financed the project on his own, working with the cooperation of the railroad. He chose to make most of his photographs at night, which required him to deploy massive flash arrays and he set up his shots meticulously in advance. His brilliant black and white prints established him as an important American photographer and specific images have become modern classics. In addition to his black and white photography, Link shot the railroad in colour during the day. Tony Reevy, administrator at the UNC Institute for the Environment and advisory editor of Railroad History, is an author who has published two books, four chapbooks of poetry, and more than 100 poems and articles. He often publishes articles on American railroading, including features about railroad photographers Lucius Beebe, Jim Shaughnessy, David Plowden, and Walker Evans.