Tag Archives: Graffiti

Taking A Ride on the A-train: New York City Subway

It was about 1980, when I made this interior view of an R10 subway car during a trip with my father around New York City. Pop thinks this was on the 8th Avenue line in Manhattan. It was one of three photos I made of the Subway that day .

The cars were not air-conditioned and the open fans intrigued me.

This was in that unsavory era on the Subway when the subway cars were decorated inside and out with graffiti.

Exposed on black & white film with my old Leica 3A 35mm camera.

Tracking the Light Posts every day!

Ten Subterranean Views: Rome Metro September 2017.

Call it a ‘Retro-Metro’. The Rome metro trains are still covered in graffiti. How 1980s is that?

I made these views using my Lumix LX7 on my visit to Rome with Honer Travers in September 2017.

I’d set the ISO at 200 and 250, and the white balance to ‘auto’, which I’ve found from experience photographing subways tends to yield some of the most effective photographs.

My Lumix is handy for underground railway photography because it’s compact, lightweight, minimally obtrusive, and has a very fast (f1.4) Leica lens that yield sharp images wide open.

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Daily Post: Railcar Graffiti

Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.

Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.
Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.

Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.
Sayre, Pennsylvania, August 2010.

Watching trains today, it seems that graffiti is omnipresent. Hardly a freight passes without heavily tagged cars in consist.

Railcar graffiti isn’t a recent phenomena. Traditional chalked tags have appeared on cars for generations. I recall photographing a tag that read ‘Edward Steichen knew’ back in the mid-1980s, and I first noticed spray-painted graffiti on the New York Subways in the 1970s.

Yet, the proliferation of large colorful spray-painted murals and haphazard spray tagging has only become widespread on mainline trains in the last couple of decades.

While freight cars are the most common canvases, I’ve see locomotives and passenger cars tagged as well.

Nor is the phenomena isolated to the United States. Train graffiti is a worldwide occurrence. I’ve photographed heavily tagged trains in Poland, Belgium, and (wouldn’t you guess?) Italy! (Among other places).

Almost every photographer I’ve met has an opinion on graffiti.

Would you like to leave a comment? Tracking the light is interested in your opinion(s). See the comments section toward the bottom of the page.

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Tomorrow: Tracking the Light features a summer morning Norfolk Southern’s former PRR at Cassandra, Pennsylvania. Don’t miss it!

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