Monday 7 February 2011

Link link

I was surprised to see a reference to O. Winston Link in the Blue Nile book. It turns out that the inspiration for the first album's cover photograph was Link's iconic black and white night photography of fifties America. I'm a big fan of Link's work and own two books of his photography. He was an astonishing craftsman and went to improbable lengths to achieve his amazing floodlit images.

It's kind of obvious now, given the "period Americana" themes in so many of the lyrics, but the connection had never occurred to me.

More on Link here:

O. Winston Link museum

Wikipedia article

(Edit: I see from the Wiki article that Link has a cameo in the film "October Sky", based on Homer Hickam's book Rocket Boys, neatly bringing us back to space, rocketry, and all things sci-fi. I highly recommend the film, incidentally).


  1. Al,

    What fine taste you have (no surprise).

    And how lucky I am, as you remind me, that this little farm of mine is only 25 miles or so from Roanoke and the Link Museum.

    Do come to Roanoke sometime, if you get the chance, and visit the museum.


  2. I'd love to, Keith - one of these days.

  3. What's this on amazon about BRE not being published until 2012? Now I'm having a bad week...

  4. Hi Johnny - yes, it's looking increasingly likely that the pub date will be early 2012. The thinking is that it'll be easier to make a bit of splash if we wait until then, rather than going with August. Things are also complicated by the fact that, shortly before I handed the book in, my editor of the last eleven years moved to a different publisher, so there's necessarily been a period of transition.

    I've been on the wrong end of the internet rumour machine once or twice in my career (I remember once reading that I'd been sued by my publisher, which was news to me) so I can cheerfully say that from my side things are pretty positive; initial reaction to the manuscript has been good and people seem generally pleased. I'm already well into rewrites, actually, and the delay to 2012 at least gives me the chance to make good progress on the second book before the first one is typeset, thereby allowing for any minor tweaks as may prove necessary.

  5. Ah well, it was always going to be a long wait, I suppose.

    It seems that a few other books I've anticipated have been knocked back a few months as well. At least that gives me some time to work through my backlog...

  6. There is an interesting program about Link in which they try to kid him up to take one more picture - he is well into retirement.

    They set up all the bulbs in his trademark way - the elaborate lighting etc., but something technical gets forgotten and all the bulbs blow off but no picture gets taken - and these were the last of these old bulbs. It was pretty sad actually, but Link just shrugged his shoulders as I recall.