COVER SIDEBOX- Winston himself: Portrait of the artist
O. Winston Link; the "O" stands for Ogle
Born: December 16, 1914, in Brooklyn, New York
Died: January 30, 2001, outside a train station (really!) in Katonah, New York. Driving to a doctor's office, he pulled over and suffered a heart attack.
Trained: As a civil engineer
Hint o' future: Served as photo editor of both the student newspaper and the yearbook at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn
Career: Public relations; commercial photography
Inspiration for shooting trains: During WWII, he worked as a photographer at a secret military lab adjacent to the Long Island Railroad.
Inspiration for shooting N&W steam: On assignment in Waynesboro in 1955, he learned that America's last steam railroad would soon go diesel.
Art: Reportedly never considered himself an artist
Effort: 1955-60, over 20 trips totaling 270 days
Equipment: Large-format camera and extensive self-designed lighting systems, often using hundreds of flashbulbs and up to 3/4 of a mile of cable for a single shot
Cost: About $125,000 out-of-pocket in current dollars
Cooperation: N&W president R.H. Smith allowed unlimited access.
Audacity: N&W once sent a loaded passenger train back 10-20 miles so Link could get a better shot.
Acclaim: Slow in coming
Request: That a museum bearing his name open in Roanoke, historic home of the Norfolk & Western Railway
Books: Steam, Steel & Stars (1987); The Last Steam Railroad in America (1995)
Cameo: As a locomotive engineer in the 1999 boy-and-his-rocket movie, October Sky
O. Winston Link (left), his lights, and an early assistant named George Thom
COURTESY THE O. WINSTON LINK MUSEUM