Today’s Film Friday post comes from Lester Burg – Senior Manager, MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design
Lightbox photography in the NYC subway: Current exhibit at Bowling Green Station
Sponsored by Kodak Alaris
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) moves 8.5 million people each day through its subways, buses and commuter rail systems. Making art a part of the experience is important – it adds a humanizing element, provides an enhancement that is accessible to all, improves the visual environment and sets a tone that the system is cared for and the customers are considered. Since travel involves moving people efficiently through various spaces, the more we can do to improve that experience, the better the spaces are treated and enjoyed. Arts for Transit commissions permanent art in stations – and oversees poster, music and poetry programs as well, with the common goal of improving and enhancing the experience of the transit system. Photography is also offered within lightbox displays in stations where there was the space for a series of light box displays and which were rehabilitated in the past ten years. The light boxes are in places with heavy foot traffic.
MTA Arts for Transit curates the Lightbox Project, which showcases photography in large-scale in four key locations – Bowling Green, Bryant Park 42nd Street, Grand Central and Atlantic-Barclays Center in Brooklyn. We try to find photographers whose work will hold the viewer’s interest over repeated viewings, and which has something to say about the neighborhood, the area or the people who use the station. The program is made possible through the support of sponsors. For this exhibit, the displays are printed on Kodak Professional Endura Transparency Display material with a local partner, the Prestone Media Group. We are unable to accept unsolicited photography proposals for the Lightbox Project.
At Bowling Green, more than 25,000 people use the station on a daily basis, and many are international visitors heading to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. Other riders are office workers in Lower Manhattan. At this location, we try to show a part of New York not often seen, or a way of expressing the City and travel through a photographer’s particular point of view. People are fascinated by tall buildings and the dramatic way that Navid Baraty has shot the images is captivating. The series features aerial views from atop skyscrapers in Manhattan, offering the viewer a look that is straight down.
People will stop in their tracks and take a closer look – there is a lot of detail in these photos and the angle of looking downward takes a second to come into sharp focus. Visitors spend more time looking at the images and people waiting for a train will study the art or photographs. We always hear from people that they have noticed the photographs in the station and when it is your regular station the photos or artworks become part of the daily landscape. Ideally, one notices a new detail every day.
- Lester Burg – Senior Manager , MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design