Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

In a world that seems to have gone mad, much like millions thought during the world wars, it is often difficult to be happy. I mean really happy for an extended period of time; like for an entire summer. As I thought about all of the fighting, the political posturing, the violence, the poor and the refugees, the over-worked, ill and depressed, I wondered how many folk are truly happy. Without answering my own question, I decided to share a bit of nostalgia which resonated with me. For a moment, set aside all that hinders and relax as I share the following. Idyllic? Of course it is. Anyway, try to enjoy the moment.

1963 Dodge Dart

I bought this advertisement about a year ago at a garage sale for fifty cents. I thought it represented a snapshot of Americana during a more blissful-although imperfect-time. As you will note, this ad was meant to appeal to the white, middle class segment of the population at the time…1963 to be exact. The sixties was a decade of immense change in America. The younger generation wanted to separate themselves from their parent’s generation-and they did in many subtle, and sublime ways. Inequality among color and gender was brought to the forefront on a daily basis. Without boring you with the facts, I simply want to share a happy moment. The following lyrics were sung quite successfully by Nate King Cole, a black entertainer with a most beautiful voice. I urge you to YouTube his rendition of this song. BTW, he recorded it in 1963-the same year as this car ad!

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies; then lock the house up, now you’re set. And, on the beech you’ll see the girls in their bikinis; as cute as ever but they never get ’em wet.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; dust off the sun and the moon and sing a song of cheer.

Don’t hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in; or some romantic moon it seems. Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin’; you’ll see more kissin’ in the cars than on the screen.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; you’ll wish that summer could always be here.

You’ll wish that summer could always be here; you’ll wish that summer could always be here.

 

 

Night Moves or Locomotive Breath

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Both titles are from songs. The first by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band and the second by Jethro Tull. However, this post isn’t about songs, but night trains and a special photographer by the name of O. Winston Link. The titles simply fit the subject rather well, and the songs were fun to listen to back in the 1970s.

This a lengthy post due to the explanations and sampling of Winston’s photographs. I have never shot glossy photos and shared them on the web so I tried various methods to keep off glare and shadows, and at the same time reveal as closely as possible the accuracy of the chosen photos. I sincerely hope I have done Mr. Link a justice by sharing his unique photography techniques and expertise. I recently came across Link’s book, Steam, Steel & Stars (published in 1987) at a garage sale! The excellent descriptive text is by Tim Hensley. It is a treasure.

If you like trains, especially steam-driven trains and anything related to railroads then this book is sure to please. Link was a successful commercial photographer in New York and loved steam-driven trains so much that he created a five-year project of shooting the Norfolk & Western Railroad in various settings-all at night in the late 50s and early 60s. During the 1950s and 60s, the N&W was the last remaining Class 1 railroad in the United States to utilize all steam-powered locomotives. Diesel-powered units were already becoming standard on most lines. Winston’s photographs not only capture the steam engines in many unique and well thought-out locations, but also give us a time freeze of Americana during this period. The book contains 90 duo-tone images. I have narrowed my selection to 9 plus a bonus shot.

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Winston Link would go to great extremes to capture his scenes which remind me of moving Norman Rockwell paintings. He would spend weeks scouting out the exact location for his camera and series of flash spot lights-all the while maintaining his regular career. He traveled extensively throughout the N&W’s area of operation; parts of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Maryland. Below is the bonus shot which shows some of the challenges and means to capture these bellowing behemoths. His spot lights fired in unison were a unique invention and the master control was never out of his sight. Some shots required thousands of feet of cables running across streets, rivers, and on buildings. Passion would be a word to describe O. Winston Link’s love affair with steam-powered trains. He composed great images which not only show cased his beloved trains, but tell a story about rural life in America fifty-plus years ago. Winston can be seen on the left of the spot light photo, next to an assistant. After hours of setting up, there would often be hours of waiting for a train to rumble by. Link’s work has been exhibited in prominent art museums in America, England, France and in many private exhibits. In my humble opinion, O. Winston Link was a true artist, and a clever one at that. Interestingly, his book was printed in Italy. Thanks for taking the time to view this post. I hope you enjoyed it and will look further into Link’s photography.

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