O. Winston Link: A Look Back Into the Archives


By: Kent State University Practicum Student, Alexandra Lynch
O. Winston Link was born in Brooklyn in 1914. Link’s love of trains began when he was just a young boy. “I’ve loved trains since I was 4 years old,” he said. “I got started in photography photographing trains.” During World War II, when “it was against the law to photograph trains,” he said he would take his camera and lie in wait for them around the Mineola, Long Island Railroad (Art People, Michael Brenson). Link photographed the Norfolk and Western steam division from 1955 until the line was closed in 1961. During this time, he produced 2,500 images of the N&W and traveled through six states and countless counties of the “Land of Plenty Places”, named by the lines veterans. This work would have seemed taxing to most, but for Link it was the closest thing to heaven. Ogle Winston Link passed away of a hear attack outside of a railway station on January 30, 2001 at the age of 83.

Poster from Link’s first exhibition Railroad Photographs of the 1950s

O. Winston Link is being featured in a solo exhibition for the second time in the Akron Art Museum galleries. Link’s first exhibition, Railroad Photographs of the 1950’s, was on view June 4th through July 3rd, 1983, and was the museum’s first major exhibition of railroad photography. The exhibition featured over 40 photographs captured with Link’s unique, homemade lights and flash equipment that he used to illuminate the scenes he was trying to record. 10 images from this show can be seen in the Akron Art Museum current exhibition, Along the Tracks: O. Winston Link, located in the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery until November 9, 2014.
Be sure to check out the upcoming O. Winston Link film, The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover in the museum auditorium on September 11, 2014, 6:30 pm.