Two years ago, Montreal-based photographer Forsyth began paying attention to the spaces he travelled through day after day and developed something of “a mild obsession with metros”, seeing in them a kind of beauty that would be lost on most rush-hour commuters.
“Over time I began to notice how beautiful certain stations really are and I would try to frame the scenes in my head,” he says. “The photos I had already envisioned worked out just as planned giving me a lot of motivation to continue finding more and more images.”
This love affair took him across the world in search of interesting metro networks and stations. “From the hand painted cave-like stations in Stockholm, to the bright, open, and modern platforms of Munich’s U-Bahn”, Forsyth has documented his favourites in this ongoing series.
The stations, though usually associated with bustling crowds, are presented in his photographs almost entirely devoid of human beings and unblemished by their impact. To Forsyth, people are a distraction, casting “untamed blurs” when shooting with long exposures. “I want the focus to be on the architecture and design in these spaces”, he explains.
Forsyth doesn’t shy away from digital retouching his photographs, heightening the geometric elements of his compositions. He manipulates colour, contrast and highlights to give his images their hyper-real quality, sometimes doing away with inconvenient elements such as signage or electrical fixtures that he sees as unflattering. These are images of an idealised, highly-stylised underground world – one considerably removed from that of most commuters.
The Metro Project certainly presents railway systems as awe-inspiring, focusing on their form rather than simply the function of transportation that they serve. A suggestion perhaps that public transport ordinarily associated with monotony, repetition and the daily grind can in fact be a thing of beauty.