O. Winston Link
Winston Link was born on December 16, 1914, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the second of three children. His father was a public school teacher and exerted a strong influence on his children, escorting them around New York City to see the sights, from battleships at harbor to airplanes in the sky. The elder Link taught his son the use and care of tools and introduced him to photography. Winston developed a lifelong love of tools, becoming a skilled woodworker and a meticulous craftsman. As a teenager, he built his own photographic enlarger and went to work for a local photo store.
Link attended Manual Arts High School in Brooklyn and later the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He played hockey and was a very popular student, serving as class president all four years in college while majoring in civil engineering. He worked as photographer and photo editor of the school newspaper and, upon graduation, was offered a job as a photographer by a public relations firm, Carl Byoir Associates, in New York City. He worked for Byoir from 1937 to 1942. He never did pursue a career in engineering.
With the onset of World War II, Winston left Byoir and went to work for Columbia Institute Laboratory in Mineola, Long Island, where he performed secret war research for the United States Government. The Long Island Railroad operated tracks right behind the lab. Link had always been fascinated by steam locomotives, and the proximity of the LIRR rekindled his interest, and he started taking pictures. He recognized there was one great problem in shooting photos of locomotives — lighting. He once said, “You can’t move the sun, and you can’t move the tracks, so you have to do something else to better light the engines.” He went on to custom build his own flash equipment required for his large scale railroad photos which he preferred to shoot at night. (read more)