For many, New York City’s subway system is simply a means of getting from A to B. Its 36 lines connect eight million residents from across the city’s five boroughs, shuttling them from the upper reaches of yhe Bronx, beneath the skyscrapers of Manhattan, then east to Queens, south to Brooklyn, and across the ferry to Staten Island.
But, down its concrete stairs, within graffitied tunnels and dusty carriages, Jamel Shabazz saw something more. He saw moments of joy between friends and families, looks of lust between lovers, the exhaustion of worn-out workers and late-night dancers, and extraordinary performers who brought the subway to life. What Shabazz captured for over 30 years is the beauty of the city’s many communities, and the extent to which the transport system serves as a fundamental part of urban life.
“You’re like in the center of the earth, when they were still cutting the rock and blasting for the East Side Access Tunnel,” said Mr. Cashin, who recently retired. “The camera gives you a false sense of security. I got to go to the top of a lot of bridges. I went to highest point of the city and the deepest.”
Once there he brought the agency into the 21st century. “That’s the time when the digital cameras were becoming smaller and better and the quality was getting better,” he says. “So I convinced them to buy me a digital camera and I guess I converted [the MTA] from film to digital.” He also brought his own distinct style to the job. While he was told where and what to photograph, he managed to bring humanity to what otherwise could have been dry photos of construction sites and transit infrastructure. And while he’s hesitant to consider his photos art – “If people look at my work and think it’s artistic that’s very nice, but that’s not what I was hired to do. I was hired to take good photographs” – it’s hard to look at his images and think otherwise.
PS: Para quem não viu ainda, aqui embaixo tem uma nota sobre o metrô de NY. Have you seen Nick?
Mallon na velha e boa Pictura Pixel
Quem me lembrou do Stephen Mallon na Pictura foi Gilberto Tadday. Minha memória já não dá para tanto.
PS1: No Safari a Pictura não roda, no Chrome sim, mas só até dezembro. Coisas do antigo “Flash”. No celular também não roda. Seguimos.