How It Works: Recreating Scenes from the Steel

Smoke, sparks, and molten metal…or special effects? During this unique How It Works program, industrial and railroad photographer Brian Alesin will explain how he uses creative skills and theatrical tricks to capture the drama of industry at night. The program will show how Brian took concepts made famous by artists such as O. Winston Link and developed them further, photographing historic trains and then large industrial artifacts in a way that momentarily brings them back to life. Visitors attending NMIH’s future night photo sessions will find this to be a great opportunity to familiarize themselves with the craft in general and even ask any technical questions they might have.

Brian Alesin has spent the better part of a decade orchestrating night photography workshops. He is known for staging props, actors, fog machines, and specially made lights to replicate scenes that were once common, but rarely captured on film. NMIH staff first worked with Brian during his photo workshops at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania where he proved that he could not only take amazing photographs himself, but help participants bring home images they could be proud of.

The National Museum of Industrial History “How It Works” series of tours are designed to help patrons further understand of specific facets of industrial history. The series is presented with NMIH’s Historian and includes behind-the-scenes looks at special collection items, artifacts, and aspects of the museum generally out of the public eye. This is the perfect chance to answer the questions of, “how does steam power work,” “how is steel made,” and more.

Admission for the “How It Works” tours is $5 in addition to regular museum admission.

Photo by Steve Barry, Editor, Railfan & Railroad Magazine,

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