Old 07-28-2008, 11:56 PM   #1
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Default "The next O. Winston Link"

The upcoming issue of Trains Magazine's cover story by Karl Zimmermann is about whether or not Gary Knapp is the next O. Winston Link.

"The Magic of the Night
Their techniques are similar even though their technology is decades removed. Still, the resulting photos lead us to ask: Is Gary Knapp the next O. Winston Link? You decide."




I'm sure this is going to stir up alot of controversy, which will be good for Kalmbach publishing and good for Mr. Knapp.

I think the question is a bit biased. No one will ever be able to shoot N&W steam at night on the scale that Link did, and no one will ever be able to shoot the Abingdon branch like Link did, because well, its a bike path now.
So they're basically setting Gary up for failure, but giving him unbelievable publicity at the same time. Not to mention the honor of be mentioned alongside the likes of a legend like Link.

Steam aside, Gary's photos lack perhaps the most important element of Link's, and that is humanity. I admire Gary's work, and admire the lengths he goes to make beautiful night photos. But there's something pure about Link's images. Set up, or not, they're about more than trains.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:08 AM   #2
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Why does Gary have to be the next ANYTHING? Why can't he be the first Gary Knapp?

I see quite a distinct difference between Gary's and Ogle's pictures. The only commonality is that many of their shots are at night. That's not enough of a similarity to claim the "next" anything, IMO.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:26 AM   #3
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Oh, my. I would like to start off by saying that I do not know Gary nor do I know anything about him besides photos I have seen that he is taking. With that said I'm not a big fan of his work. I personally think it looks somewhat fake. Too much saturation and it has a blotchy appearance, maybe from too much noise reduction? Although, I feel like I am in the minority with my opinion.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:26 AM   #4
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Before anybody is the next OWL, I think they should be made to use the same equipment that Link did in his hey day.



Knapp, as good as he may be, has the distinct advantage of many major leaps in technology since OWL's time beside the tracks.


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Old 07-29-2008, 12:33 AM   #5
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
Before anybody is the next OWL, I think they should be made to use the same equipment that Link did in his hey day.

Of course, then they'd have to take the reflective stripes off all of today's equipment to further level the playing field...

I agree with Jim, both have distinctly different styles, the only similarity being that the photos are taken at night. Let's not forget that Link was a photographer first and train enthusiast second--he did plenty of professional photographic work of non-railroad related subjects. Link's photos definitely focused on not just the trains of the era but also the surroundings, namely people. Both are excellent at their work, but I can't see there being any way to compare two entirely different photographers.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:04 AM   #7
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Is it me or does that photo look a little unlevel? I will also be in this issue with my six locomotive shot, looking forward to reading the article about Knapp.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter S
Is it me or does that photo look a little unlevel? I will also be in this issue with my six locomotive shot, looking forward to reading the article about Knapp.
Say it isn't so, Walter! I already saw your photo in another mag. Now the next issue of Trains will be completely worthless to me!

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Old 07-29-2008, 01:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Say it isn't so, Walter! I already saw your photo in another mag. Now the next issue of Trains will be completely worthless to me!

You're a moron, Jim.

To keep the thread on topic, I think it's stupid to claim anyone is the next Link. What he shot will never be duplicated so it's impossible.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:33 AM   #10
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I think Gary Knapp is a great photography. Although I dont think he is the next O. Winston!
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:49 AM   #11
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I've this conversation with many people and I am to the point that I am frustrated at the comparison because people that make it don't know anything about O. Winston Link, what he shot and why he shot it. **IMPORTANT: Read the following knowing that I have nothing against Gary, his work and actually hope to work together in the future** I could be wrong but Gary is not out to photograph an end of an era or an entire generation for that matter like OWL. None of Gary's shots include any human interest other than the crew in the cab which in itself is impersonal which is what OWL set out to do. People who have never read up on Winston Link have no idea that he wasn't a railfan and that he wasn't shooting the Norfolk & Western because he was a fan, he just thought it was the best represtation of the days where railroads and towns worked, lived, and breathed together in harmony. Gary finds a pretty scene and lights it up at night.

I hate to compare anyone's work to OWL's because it is so impressive what he did but here is a shot that I think comes very close to capturing "life" and a moment of time.
Image © Jarrett Mullen
PhotoID: 172495
Photograph © Jarrett Mullen

This is listed as my favorite photo on RP.net and it will probably stay that way as long as I post here. The mother and child (standing on bench) and the other man watching the Amtrak race into the station (awesome use of blur) are perfect as well as the emptiness which could symbolize the demise of passenger rail in the US. Whether it is a product of luck, careful planning or a combination of the two, Jarrett has a true work of art in his collection that I am extremely jealous of.

I shoot a lot of photo charters and we do recreations of OWL scenes because they are inspirational but I hate when someone makes the comparison. Of course, thats what we were going for but it was because we had seen it and wanted to do something similar with the engine at hand. There are of course photos that include a human element and may one day be seen as the story-tellers in the future but I don't think any of us make plans to shoot the scene, get in touch with the people we want to photograph and spend days getting it just right. I could be wrong but I have not seen anyone put the sweat, heart and soul into capturing this generation as a life goal...just a hobby. Thats the difference to me.
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Old 07-29-2008, 02:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
You're a moron, Jim.

To keep the thread on topic, I think it's stupid to claim anyone is the next Link. What he shot will never be duplicated so it's impossible.







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Old 07-29-2008, 02:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
I've this conversation with many people and I am to the point that I am frustrated at the comparison because people that make it don't know anything about O. Winston Link, what he shot and why he shot it. **IMPORTANT: Read the following knowing that I have nothing against Gary, his work and actually hope to work together in the future** I could be wrong but Gary is not out to photograph an end of an era or an entire generation for that matter like OWL. None of Gary's shots include any human interest other than the crew in the cab which in itself is impersonal which is what OWL set out to do. People who have never read up on Winston Link have no idea that he wasn't a railfan and that he wasn't shooting the Norfolk & Western because he was a fan, he just thought it was the best represtation of the days where railroads and towns worked, lived, and breathed together in harmony. Gary finds a pretty scene and lights it up at night.

I hate to compare anyone's work to OWL's because it is so impressive what he did but here is a shot that I think comes very close to capturing "life" and a moment of time.
Image © Jarrett Mullen
PhotoID: 172495
Photograph © Jarrett Mullen

This is listed as my favorite photo on RP.net and it will probably stay that way as long as I post here. The mother and child (standing on bench) and the other man watching the Amtrak race into the station (awesome use of blur) are perfect as well as the emptiness which could symbolize the demise of passenger rail in the US. Whether it is a product of luck, careful planning or a combination of the two, Jarrett has a true work of art in his collection that I am extremely jealous of.

I shoot a lot of photo charters and we do recreations of OWL scenes because they are inspirational but I hate when someone makes the comparison. Of course, thats what we were going for but it was because we had seen it and wanted to do something similar with the engine at hand. There are of course photos that include a human element and may one day be seen as the story-tellers in the future but I don't think any of us make plans to shoot the scene, get in touch with the people we want to photograph and spend days getting it just right. I could be wrong but I have not seen anyone put the sweat, heart and soul into capturing this generation as a life goal...just a hobby. Thats the difference to me.
That's a gorgeous shot, Andrew... and I admit I am in awe of the photographer.

On the other hand, that's not my hobby. I'm a train enthusiast. Which in no way is a critique of the shot... just where I am coming from.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
I've this conversation with many people and I am to the point that I am frustrated at the comparison because people that make it don't know anything about O. Winston Link, what he shot and why he shot it.
I'm glad someone else feels as strongly about this as I.

Gary's photos stand on their own merit. He does excellent work and the time and effort he puts into it definitely pays off. By no means should he be compared to anyone else but himself. To say he's the "next Link" is just silly journalism.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
I'm glad someone else feels as strongly about this as I.

Gary's photos stand on their own merit. He does excellent work and the time and effort he puts into it definitely pays off. By no means should he be compared to anyone else but himself. To say he's the "next Link" is just silly journalism.
The world must be falling apart because...I completely agree.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
The world must be falling apart because...I completely agree.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
The world must be falling apart because...I completely agree.
Damn you, Mike. Some of the most fun on these threads is watching you and Jim go at it.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
People who have never read up on Winston Link have no idea that he wasn't a railfan and that he wasn't shooting the Norfolk & Western because he was a fan, he just thought it was the best represtation of the days where railroads and towns worked, lived, and breathed together in harmony.

Link may not have been "shooting as a fan," but the statement that he wasn't a railfan isn't true. And the point of his N&W photography was to capture steam railroading, not just railroading.

If you define "railfan" as "someone who likes trains," Link was most assuredly a fan. He began his railroad photography before WWII. He was a regular contributor to TRAINS in the 50s and 60s: his photo of an SP train on the Huey P. Long bridge was a cover, his photos appear in the news sections, and David P. Morgan chose Link to document the overhaul of the "General" in South Louisville shops. Later, he bought a CPR 4-6-0, intending to restore it to service, and he also owned a caboose.

Any notion to the contrary, even when promulgated by Link himself (and he did play down his railfan roots and play up his "artiness" when was the darling of the art gallery circuit in the early 1980s), was nothing more than sales pitch.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:51 AM   #19
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I'm not a fan of the Knapp style, for the reasons generally mentioned.

As for OWL, no one will duplicate his work but, in the long run, AB(2) has the potential to get to a similar level of art; Knapp is at a plateau, I think. (He is much older, of course.)

And for that matter, I think Knapp has a more limited range of photography than OWL. Or AB(2), for that matter. Or a number of other photographers.

My favorite way to form an impression of an RP-posting photographer: look at a bunch of thumbnails sans information:

http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?offset=0&where=search|-2|-2|-2||-2||15|1||||||||-2|-2||-2|-2|||15|-2|7962||||||1||1||||&newdisplay=10
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:14 AM   #20
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Indeed, it's great publicity for Gary Knapp. About as good as it can get for a railroad photographer. I have to say that I think its amazing how Gary lights up his scenes... I know it takes a lot of work and effort, (hours of setting up for one shot), so this article is definately well deserved. I too have gotten into a little night flash photography but its nowhere near as good or serious as Gary's stuff. I use a single Heiland Research flash gun and flash bulbs. And yes, that cover shot looks very crooked, not sure how the editors didn't spot this!

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Old 07-29-2008, 04:41 AM   #21
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pretty cool location for a night shot.

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
Damn you, Mike. Some of the most fun on these threads is watching you and Jim go at it.
Fear not old man, Jim will continue to say stupid things and I will continue to say stupid things.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:33 AM   #23
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I feel like I'm too late in this thread to give my opinion...
Gary is, to me, the master of night rail photography. As said, nothing like Link. I often find myself wondering what I could do given 14 flashbulbs and a little more know-how, though...
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:13 PM   #24
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Another RP contributor and I were talking about this last night and although Gary Knapp has some awesome work Peter Furnee's ( although he doesnt have as many) work is amazing and it looks real. When I say real I mean hardly no PP and the color looks correct. Below are some examples of his work.


Image © Peter Furnee
PhotoID: 126375
Photograph © Peter Furnee


Image © Peter Furnee
PhotoID: 76033
Photograph © Peter Furnee


Image © Wastaman
PhotoID: 6493
Photograph © Wastaman


Image © Wastaman
PhotoID: 3793
Photograph © Wastaman


Image © Wastaman
PhotoID: 3638
Photograph © Wastaman
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose

I see I am not the only one with mixed emotions on this subject.
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