O. Winston Link: NW333 LUBRICATOR CHARLES WADE ATTENDS TO THE RODS OF CLASS E2A 578 AT THE LUBRITORIUM IN BLUEFIELD, 1955
Silver Gelatin Print
Paper size: 19 1/2 x 15 1/4 in. (49.5 x 38.7cm)
SIGNED in pencil on verso, with Link's studio stamp and add'l pencil notations in unknown hand.
Corner mounted in window mat.
Ref.: Steam, Steel and Stars, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., p. 110
Excerpted from The Photographs of 0. Winston Link, Carolina Arts
"By 1955,the N&W was the last major American railroad to operate exclusively with steam power. The N&W (since merged with the Virginian Railroad and the Southern Railroad and now known as Norfolk Southern) was one of the country's major coal haulers, moving coal from the mines in West Virginia east to Norfolk, Virginia, for ocean shipment up and down the coast and overseas, and west to users in the Midwest. The railroad was true to its major customers, but the steam locomotive is a hugely labor intensive machine, and despite the cheap fuel available, parts were becoming scarce and by the mid-1950s it was clear that its days were numbered.
"Early in 1955 Winston Link was sent to Virginia on assignment, and he took the opportunity to watch N&W steam trains at Waynesboro, nearby. After one night of watching, he activated an idea which had been a fantasy in his mind for more than a decade. He would photograph the railroad at night, using flashbulbs synchronized to the camera's shutter. This way he would be able to stop or slow the motion of the train, while being able to control the light on his subject, just as a cinematographer controls light, to emphasize certain areas while making distracting elements disappear. He went hack to Waynesboro the next night, January 21, and tried his ideas by photographing an arriving passenger train. They worked perfectly."
Tiny handling crimp, upper right corner.