Thursday, August 4, 2011


Desolation: at Slussen subway stop in Stockholm
An empty urban space, stark lighting and deep, dark shadows, regular patterns and columns without decoration beyond the rust-repellant lacquer. A scene oozing of functionalism.

And in the middle of it, a token item of a different kind of urban landscape, abandoned, misplaced, a surprise.

To me, the incongruence of the shopping cart at the subway station, and of the subway station front this abandoned when I know that at the time, there is fair amounts of traffic through the station, just not these parts of the entrance hall, is what strikes the most about the image. These incongruences conspire to give an almost creepy feeling of desolation, of abandonment, of an ultimate failure in the grand designs of the original architect, with grand swathes of the design going unused.

These feelings are emphasized by the stark contrasts in the picture. A harsh lighting, helped by increased contrasts in post-processing paints a more emotional view of the image. The strong perspective lines lead the eye to the back wall, where the vertical lines lead you back to the abandoned cart, pulling the eye in to the fundamental contradiction in the picture.

And once this contradiction has been established, the loose arm at the far right shows up, reminding the viewer that the city is not entirely devoid of life, though disappearing out from the picture, and hidden behind a support column, humans are still out and about.

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