I’ve been back in the subway shooting for the last week.
The following shot is one of the new exist hallways at Pape Subway Station. I can see why the renovations took so long. These hallway and staircases are huge. I’m liking the blank white titles. Funny though, in the hour I shot these areas, not one person used them. The multiple planes–created by the ceiling and lights in combination with the dogs-leg in the corridor–work well with the oversized minimalist panels and subdued colour palette. Strangely enough in this instance it’s the utilitarian terrazzo floor seems almost overly complex and detailed.Dufferin Subway Station a few months before the work is completed. This is the main floor foyer, the entrance/exit to the street is to the right of the frame. There was a beautiful light streaming through the glass at about 9:00 in the morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if the station refurbishment is a few months behind schedule. It needs a bit of work still. Again, the most impressive part of the renovation are the second exits built from the platform to street level. Expansive. The shot below is of Dufferin Subway Station at track level with a passing train. I’ve always been interested in how the background of this sort of image stays so definable through the windows of the subway cars.
The update to the station is all about these new square coloured tiles. I find the treatment optimistic and look forward to seeing the images that the coloured tiles form when it’s all done. This is the mezzanine of Dufferin Subway Station. I’m calling it the mezzanine because it’s the floor between track level and the upper foyer. The tiles here are a continuation of the upper hall imagery and I’m pretty sure represent pixelated flesh tones. The floors and ceilings still need a lot of work, but that’s pretty basic stuff. Another shot in Dufferin Subway Station from one of the new exits looking onto track level as a train comes into the station. Like the new Pape second exits, I didn’t see anyone use these during the time I was shooting, but they’re relatively impressive to me. Simple and functional yet a lot of work to hammer through underground around existing foundations, sewers, electrical and who knows what else. Seems like an engineering miracle.Museum Subway Station isn’t my favourite, but I think it works well for the kiddies. Part of my dislike is that before the renovation this was one of my favourite stations. It had the original yellow tile and that tile was almost immaculate throughout which is very hard to find. So many stations have had repairs and tiles are replaced, but those repaired titles always look so out of place because they’re colours are usually way off. It’s hard to match the original tiles that have faded uniformly together over 50 years or so. Museum was also one of the few central platform stations that had a grand presence. It was sad to see it overhauled in what felt like a Disneyland sort of way. I think the majority of people like this station though and it does do a good job of calling out the ROM so I can see this as being for the greater good.Leslie Subway Station on the Sheppard Line. The whole five stop Sheppard extension is very quiet. This is a Mel Lastman legacy. I wonder if he rode to election in that infamous second term because he pushed this through? Traffic on this line has never seemed to justify the build, but the future will rectify that. I couldn’t help thinking that this extension was most likely conceived and executed for the same reasons that Rob Ford’s Scarborough line, which is a transparent way to buy voter support. I never thought I’d say this but Lastman was a genius of a mayor when compared to Ford. Sheppard Subway Station on the Sheppard line. This is at the Western end of the platform and one of the only places in the Subway where you can see the signal lights standing on their own in full view. I imagine someday this line might continue east, pummelling through to meet the Scarborough Rapid Transit Line. Finch Subway Station is a sprawling place. Bus platforms for Brampton, York and Go Transit, two parking lots and eight separate entrances. I’ve shot this yellow tiled area before but I couldn’t resist it’s retro charm. This is the original tile and ceiling from the first days of the station.One of the staircases that takes you from the mezzanine level up to the bus station area. There’s a white balance conflict happening in this shot where the natural sunlight meets the artificial fluorescent light and I need to fix, but it will be a bit fiddly in Photoshop. You can see that conflict in the purple cast on the left wall and staircase.Below is a central circular portion of a hallway in Finch Subway Station that has three hallways running off it. One goes back into the station proper, one to parking and one to a street exit.The shot below was a lucky find. It’s mid-way through a renovation on one of the circular windows that accent the mezzanine level of the Sheppard Centre Subway station. This hole will eventually get finished with a stainless gasket-like window. There’s a row of four of these up the staircase you can view through the circular hole in the image below. Of course my smarty pants art friends all were reminded of Gordon Matta-Clark who I had to look up and is now a favourite of mine.
I also realized that I loved this image after the fact, but I had a feeling I would feel that way as soon as I saw it. I went back twice and shot it to get a sharper file. It was a bit tricky because the shutter speed is so low at ISO 100 that I’m forced to use a tripod, and that tripod isn’t quite tall enough in certain situations. After this I think it’s time for a new tripod. Maybe Ill splurge. 100 ISO is my norm now.The following two images were taken at Islington Subway Station. I’m not really sure what these black boxes are in every subway station, but they have power going to them. The second image was taken through a glass window and shows a view into what looks to be dis-used office on the far Western end of the platform. Davisville Subway Station. This is the view from the mezzanine level elevator hallway across both tracks to the TTC offices. I’d love to get in those offices and forage around for rooms and empty, unused office space to shoot. I bet I could find a lot of stuff with that 60s dated feel, like the office desk shown in the above Islington shot.
The following image struck me as interesting because of the way the yellow safety rail’s labyrinthine feel.Davisville Subway Station escalator down to track level. I’ve liked these yellow highlights for years but never really got images I was happy with. I think I can live with this one and a few others. Repeat the mantra with me; walls, benches, stairs and escalators!Lawrence Subway Station is pretty crazy. It’s actually four levels down to track level and it has a strange old school elegance. Walking up the staircase on the north end of the platform is a real trek. there must be 7 or 8 sets of stairs to get out of the depths of track level. The TTC has begun to camouflage the second ticket booths at many of the stations with printed stickering. I imagine this is to call attention away from the fact that there are not two booths open. Certain stations need both booths because of volume, and in the future maybe all stations will so busy that two booths are open. It’s not generally a problem if you’re patient and I’m sure lines will be reduced when they have a presto system in place. This is the Lawrence Station second booth disguised as an extension of the real blue tiled wall. Kennedy Subway Station is the end of the eastern portion of the Bay Bloor line. Here there’s a general commotion all the time with passengers and train cleaners milling about. Trains pull in and then go out of service for a while as they get cleaned, or just hang for a few minutes while a crew does a quick clean. The same thing happens at the other end of the line and at Finch Station on the bloor line. I imagine it happens at Downsview as well.Warden Subway Station was a favourite. I’ve been and shot there before, but never fully explored. The bus station portion was amazing and empty. That’s where the bench was shot. I just went down the stairs from the mezzanine level on one of the bus bays that’s no longer used and there it was. The first image is the staircase alcove on the way down to the kiss-and-ride area. If you look in the mirror you can see a reflection of me with the camera on a tripod and two people coming up the stairs. It’s fairly creepy. Why do I like blank walls?