Thursday, December 11, 2014

What a Treat: A Photo of Dad (By Link)

I was interviewing retired banker Warner Dalhouse in his 10th floor downtown condo yesterday and noted this photo in his home-office. He says that when Bob Claytor left as CEO of Norfolk & Southern Railway, which was HQ'd in Roanoke, Claytor had this hanging in his office and offered it to Warner.

'Course Warner jumped at the opportunity to not only have a Winston Link print for himself, but to have one with his father in it. That's Mr. Dalhouse Sr. cleaning the headlamp on a J611, which was manufactured in the Roanoke shops. Warner's dad was an electrician who was recruited by Link for this photo and thought it would take 30 seconds or so to be completed, so he agreed. Turned out to require two hours of Mr. Dalhouse's time and really pissed off his supervisor.

"Had to get the lights right," Warner laughed. That's what Link's photography was all about: getting the lights right. Somebody who should know better once called Link "one of the greatest photographers in U.S. history." I blanched and said he needed to use a few qualifiers like: "The greatest photographer of Norfolk & Western trains using artificial light in U.S. history." That's probably true.

The Link museum, of course, is in the old N&W station downtown, the one so wonderfully designed by industrial designer Raymond Lowey. It's worth a visit if only to see the lengths to which Link went to create a photograph. I met Link two or three times and one of my photos hung in his New York apartment, he told me (it was of him, of course). I found him to be a jerk. But his pictures are always interesting.

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