Trains that Passed in the Night: Photographs by O. Winston Link

Hot Shot Eastbound, Iaeger, West Virginia, 1956Photograph by O. Winston Link and copyright W. Conway Link.

January 7 through February 17, 2013; lecture by Thomas H. Garver, Link’s former assistant, on January 10, 2013. Purdue University Galleries, Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts, 552 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 765-494-3061. The exhibition recognizes the railroad work of O. Winston Link, a Brooklyn, New York, native and commercial photographer who became well-recognized for his complex images of factory and industrial plant interiors. For Link, the steam railroad was a vital ingredient to “the good life” in America, an essential part of the fabric of our lives. It is this quality—of life, not machinery—which he captures so artfully in his photographs, showcasing the final years of steam railroading on the Norfolk & Western Railway—the last major railroad in America to operate exclusively with steam power. The broad appeal of Link’s photographs is derived not so much from the images of the steam locomotives themselves (although they are regarded as some of the best), but from the way in which their inclusion expresses the photographer’s deeply felt respect for the quality of life that the steam railroad reflected and supported for so many years in the United States.