Technical Genius: Behind the scenes with O. Winston Link’s famous photographs

Take an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look into technical aspects of several photographs of O. Winston Link, the famed 1950s railroad photographer who iconically captured some of the last steam trains in America, set against the picturesque backdrop of rural Appalachia. Ashley Webb, curator of collections and exhibitions for the O. Winston Link Museum, will present and examine the notebooks, letters, and installation images of some of the photographer’s more iconic and technically complex works.

Tuesday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m. Central Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, and 8:00 p.m. Eastern)

Click here to register.

This is a free Zoom event, open to everyone. This presentation will be recorded and later posted on our YouTube page.

Ashley Webb received her B.A. in History and Anthropology from Longwood University, in Farmville, Virginia, and her M.A. in Museum Studies from Bournemouth University, in Dorset, England. She is currently the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions and acting Executive Director with the Historical Society of Western Virginia, which operates both the Roanoke History and the O. Winston Link Museums. In addition to her job with the Historical Society, Ashley works with several local museums as a contract museum collections specialist. Her specialty is fashion history and she owns Bustle Textiles, a historic dress preservation company.

Based in Roanoke, Virginia, the O. Winston Link Museum collection comprises the striking photographic and auditory works developed by photographer-artist O. Winston Link between 1955 and 1960. A successful commercial photographer from New York, Link brought his studio outdoors to create carefully arranged images designed to convey the end of Norfolk & Western’s steam locomotives and the communities and countryside they passed through. The museum – which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year — is the repository for all of Link’s Norfolk & Western negatives, and contains both rotating and permanent exhibitions; learn more at:

Register here

Above: O. Winston Link’s masterpiece “Hot Shot Eastbound at the Drive-In, Iaeger, West Virginia, 1956.” Below: A behind-the-scenes view of Link in action, from the July 9 presentation.

Plowden exhibition to appear at Illinois Railway Museum

Beginning mid-June, the Illinois Railway Museum will present Requiem for Steam: Railroad Photographs of David Plowden, produced in cooperation with the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. “Conversations” attendees who join our planned museum events on Friday, June 14, will enjoy a special reception from 5:00 to 7:00 pm celebrating the exhibition.

David Plowden and the Center produced this traveling exhibit of more than 50 black & white images. It traces the renowned photographer’s fascination with railway steam power, starting from a childhood spent watching steamboats on the East River, in New York City, and traveling behind steam-powered passenger trains in New England. His featured work includes the end of the steam era in the 1950s, and more recent examinations of steam’s lingering imprints on the American landscape.

The traveling exhibition will continue through late December. For more information, visit the Illinois Railway Museum’s web page.

The “Conversations” conference will continue for a full day on Saturday, June 15 and a half day on Sunday, June 16, at Lake Forest College near Chicago, headlined by an exciting lineup of photographers and artists. Visit our conference page for the schedule and listing of presenters.

David Plowden’s portrait of a Canadian Pacific 2-8-2 in Montreal, Quebec, in 1960.

An overview of the Requiem for Steam exhibition at Illinois Railway Museum.

Member Exclusive: Inside the Henry Posner III Collection

Join us Tuesday, May 14th, for an evening of globe-trotting railroad photography and great stories, when the Center hosts our next member-exclusive Zoom program, “Photographer of Last Resort: Inside the Henry Posner III Collection.”

Gil Taylor, reference and processing archivist, will present images from Henry Posner III, whose collection Gil has been processing since 2022. Henry is chairman of RDC, a global railway investment and management company, which he founded in 1987 with his partner Bob Pietrandrea. He also serves as chairman of Iowa Interstate Railroad, RDC-Deutschland, EuroRail, and family investment firm The Hawthorne Group. His leadership roles have taken him across the world and he has photographed railroads in fifty-four countries.

This program was recorded; the private link has been shared with registered members.

The Zoom program will be Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at 7:00 PM (U.S. Central Time)
5 pm Pacific / 6 pm Mountain / 8 pm Eastern
Henry will join Gil for the Zoom program to share anecdotes, behind-the-scenes tidbits, and fascinating details about his rail photographs, which range from spectacular to gritty and frequently spotlight railroad people across geography and cultures. Highlights will include:

  • The Iowa Interstate Railroad, including its Chinese QJ steam locomotives;
  • Henry’s involvement with and photography of Guatemala’s Ferrocarriles de Guatemala, and subsequently Ferrovías Guatemala … followed by his photographs of Peru’s Ferrocarril Central Andino, with a strong focus on the Andes Mountains;
  • Henry’s digital images of railroads that RDC works with in France and Germany, as well as eye-catching safety signs around the world.

Henry also serves as president of the EBT Foundation — a nonprofit organization formed to restore and operate the East Broad Top Railroad. He is Iowa Interstate’s alternate director at the Association of American Railroads, and a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Agriculture and Food Transport Subcommittee. He teaches undergraduate courses on rail deregulation and privatization and he’s lectured and published extensively about railways.

Not a member? Register Here.

Ferrocarril Central Andino no. 609 pulls a charter train somewhere northeast of Matucana, Peru, on July 25, 2000. Photograph by Henry Posner III, Posner-18-23-11.

Ferrocarriles de Guatemala workers gather around a motorcart as they follow a work train led by U10B 803, repairing tracks somewhere in Guatemala in 1998. Photograph by Henry Posner III, Posner-11-03-11.

Classic Trains in the Land of Lincoln: Dick Neumiller’s Central Illinois Photography

Join us Tuesday, April 16, for an online program featuring the color photography of Dick Neumiller in central Illinois! Bon French, chairman of the Center’s board of directors, will present some of the finest railroad images from Neumiller’s collection—beginning with Peoria railroading during the 1950s and 1960s, followed by Chicago, Burlington & Quincy trains during the same era. You’ll also thrill to terrific CB&Q images along the Mississippi River and several in St. Louis and Denver. Bon and Dick were longtime friends and traveling partners, and you’ll enjoy crisp images that have never been published, and rarely seen until recent years.

Click here to view this program at our YouTube page.

Born in Peoria, Illinois in 1931, C. Richard (“Dick”) Neumiller was a lifelong resident until his passing in 2015 at age 83. Dick loved color photography and began shooting Kodachrome slides in 1950. He had excellent equipment including Leicas and other fine cameras and lenses. He belonged to the Peoria Camera Club and often won awards for his work, which included many subjects beyond trains. Unlike some fans, his excitement for rail photography increased as the steam engine faded, since diesel locomotives and post-WWII streamliners wore brilliant new color schemes. He attempted to photograph every streamlined train in America, from lesser-known railroads to the “big names.” Bon is the keeper of Dick’s rail slide collection which contains 82,400 Kodachrome images covering 800 railroads, mainly in the US and Canada – all meticulously labeled and organized.

We’re excited to share an evening of amazing midcentury rail photography!

“A Spike in Time” with Andrea Capiola March 5

March is around the corner and we’re turning our attention to the Pacific Northwest; besides traveling to Winterail, our next online program on March 5th will spotlight Andrea Capiola, a Washington state photographer who created A Spike in Time – a project that documents, educates, and promotes the preservation of railway history. Andrea will share her photography in a free Zoom program on Tuesday, March 5, at 7:00 pm Central Time (5:00 pm Pacific Time, 6:00 pm Mountain, and 8:00 pm Eastern).

This free event was recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube page,

For more than a decade, Andrea has traveled the roads of the Pacific Northwest capturing images of everyday railroad operations: freight trains, passenger service, and the men and women who maintain the busy rail lines. “A Spike In Time” is her examination of today’s railroads in Washington state and the evolution of railroad practices and equipment over the last 150 years.

When Andrea began photographing trains, it ignited a passion and love for the railroad. Despite living on an island, she would drive an hour almost daily to take pictures of various trains, landscapes, structures, and workers. She began posting her pictures on social media and received tremendous response, as well as motivation to do something more. Coming from an academic background and earning three Masters degrees in Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Toxicology, and Teaching, she knew she wanted to share her photography with the world as both an artist and teacher. Join us for a great evening of rail photography with Andrea!

BNSF Railway 4097 starts its climb west over Stevens Pass at Leavenworth, WA, on July 22, 2018, with fuselages destined for the Boeing plant in Renton. Photograph by Andrea Capiola.

Tacoma Rail yard framed by Mt. Rainier, on November 11, 2017. Photograph by Andrea Capiola.