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Living Room on the Tracks, Lithia, Virginia, December 16, 1958

1958, printed 1984, gelatin silver print

O. Winston Link

born New York City 1914-died South Salem, NY 2001

sheet: 20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61.0 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Vladimir and Eileen Toumanoff, 1991.151.8, © 1984, O. Winston Link

When the Norfolk and Western Railway companies announced their conversion from steam to diesel locomotives in 1955, O. Winston Link, an industrial photographer, began to document the line that would ultimately mark the end of the steam era in the United States. By the time he made his last photograph of this series in 1960, he had made over 2,400 negatives. Link took most of his railroad photographs at night, developing new techniques for flash photography and dramatic lighting. His photographs were exactingly set up and posed to appear like stills from a movie, in which a locomotive is a player in a scene of domestic or social life.

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