Back in 2000, the NYC Transit Authority joined the artificial reef building program off the East Coast of the US and hundreds of stripped and decontaminated subway cars were sent via barge to be dumped in the Atlantic Ocean. Industrial photographer Stephen Mallon spent three years traveling from Delaware to South Carolin, documenting the entire process. In Next Stop Atlantic, his upcoming solo show at Calumet Photographic, the resulting large scale photographs anthropomorphize the massive metal hulls, making what should be a happy voyage (yay, repurposing!) feel like a strangely sad experience for the viewer.
Mallon agrees in his artist statement: “Seeing these massive mechanisms being tossed into the ocean like a toy in the bathtub is a ping in my heart. I have always been attached to these machines, their surreal beauty integrated into their functional engineering. At first I was stunned, the moments of violent recycling, watching the water quickly adapt to its new underwater houses. After being pushed and stacked like a sardine in these subways cars over the past decade, it is nice to see the sardine actually getting one of these as its new steel condo.”
Click below through to check out a selection of his work.
Photo credit: Stephen Mallon. Courtesy of The Front Room