Richard Barnes, “2nd Ave Subway Excavation #3” (2012) photographed on assignment for The New York Times Magazine.“The first thing that stuck me as we descended the ninety feet below Second Avenue was the scale of the tunnel excavation rising in some places four to five stories above us,” Barnes told me. “The workers were dwarfed by the monumental scale, especially as the tunnels opened up to where the station platforms will one day be built. Next, I couldn’t get over how much like a movie set it felt. I had brought my own lighting equipment with me, as I was expecting it to be extremely dark down there. Instead, I was surprised (and I guess I shouldn’t have been, as workers need to see) by the amount of light in the pit. Jules Verne, Stanley Kubrick, Frank Herbert, and David Lynch’s all but forgettable “Dune” were some of the literary and cinematographic references the site conjured up for me. I strove to bring this quality of otherworldliness to my images, as it was kind of unbelievable that this magical world exists now below the surface of the Upper East Side of Manhattan.”
This week, Photo Booth will be taking a look at pictures of the New York subway, often by artists with bodies of work devoted to the subject.