Most of us who like trains are familiar with the name O. Winston Link. Link’s famous night photography on the Norfolk & Western Railway captured the last of big time steam railroading in the United States in the 1950s. But Link’s photography career went far beyond those seminal night photos.
In 1957, a year out of college, Tom Garver was living in New York City and studying art restoration at the Brooklyn Museum. He needed a little extra money and took a part time job with O. Winston Link. Little did Tom know that the $1.50 an hour he received for two days’ work every week would lead to a lifetime’s involvement with the photographer and his most famous achievement, the visionary, five year documentation, in photos and sound recordings, of the last years of steam power on the Norfolk and Western Railway.
In 1957, a year out of college, Tom Garver was living in New York City and studying art restoration at the Brooklyn Museum. He needed a little extra money and took a part time job with O. Winston Link, an industrial and advertising photographer with a studio in Manhattan. Little did Tom know that the $1.50 an hour he received for two days’ work every week would lead on to a lifetime’s involvement with the photographer and his most famous achievement, the visionary five year documentation, in photos and sound recordings, of the last years of steam powered locomotion on the Norfolk and Western Railway, the last class 1 American railroad to operate exclusively with steam power.
Tom met Winston Link because Link had made photos for an admissions brochure for the college Tom had attended and a mutual friend introduced them. Always interested in photography, Tom had learned to develop and print photos in college and worked as general assistant for Link in the studio, the darkroom and on location. As a “side venture,” Tom also assisted him as an assistant on the great railroad documentation project and made three trips with him, about a month in total, to the N&W’s rights of way in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
After leaving New York, Tom took a graduate degree in history of art and began work as a curator and later director of several American art museums in the Midwest and on both coasts. During this time, Tom and Winston stayed in touch with each other and Tom would visit with Winston, traveling out to rail yards in northern New Jersey to see the photographer’s Rutland RR passenger car and steam locomotive he’d bought from the Canadian Pacific Railroad for its scrap value.
Immediately following Tom Garver’s presentation, Model Railroader editor Tony Koester will regale us with the process of recreating his Nickel Plate Road layout featuring steam and early diesels in the Indiana heartland. Beginning with his tenure as editor of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine and building his Alleghany Midland layout, and continuing through his long relationship with Model Railroader magazine, Tony has honed his planning and modelling skills which have culminated in his current Nickel Plate layout. Tony will provide us with some interesting insights on how to make our layouts more believable, even if we aren’t following a particular prototype or location. Seeing and hearing Tony’s thought processes can inspire you to be more creative in building your own model empire. Don’t miss the chance to meet one of the most famous modelers of our time.
The list of clinics and times will be updated on this page as the convention gets closer. Check back for more details.
A full lineup of clinics begins at 7pm on Friday evening. Clinics continue on Saturday beginning at 8am. For those who do not want to visit layouts Saturday afternoon, a limited schedule of clinics will continue starting at 1:30pm.
Tom assisted Link on three trips, about a month in total, to the N&W’s rights-of-way in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. In 1994, Tom became Link’s business agent and also completed the text for the second book of Winston’s N&W photos, The Last Steam Railroad in America, which was published in 1995. Following Winston’s death in 2001, Tom Garver became the organizing curator of the O. Winston Link Museum, in the old N&W passenger station in Roanoke, Virginia. See below for more on Tom Garver’s association with O. Winston Link.
Tom Garver will share with us Link’s journey through photography from his earliest days and the stories behind some of his iconic photos. This program has been seen by a limited audience and this will be the first time it has been presented to any model railroad group. You don’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and hear about some of the most famous railroad photographs ever made from someone who was there. And you’ll even get an intriguing look at blocks of ice—you’ll have to come to see what that means.
In 1994, after leaving the museum field to pursue other art projects, Tom became Link’s business agent. By that time, Winston Link’s N&W photos had become very well-known and highly collected, and Tom managed the photographer’s print sales through a national dealer network, along with handling other exhibition and publication responsibilities. Tom also completed the text for the second book of Winston’s N&W photos, The Last Steam Railroad in America, which was published in 1995. Following Winston’s death in 2001, Tom Garver became the organizing curator of the O. Winston Link Museum, in the old N&W passenger station in Roanoke, Virginia, which opened in 2004. Since that time, Tom has continued to write and lecture on Winston Link and his remarkable documentation of the Norfolk and Western Railway, 1955-1960.
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