December 27th, 2010
This photo-essay on exploring the Paris Metro is fascinating:
Back in October 2007 sometime after midnight and before the first trains rolled into regular service, qx and I took our first timid steps onto the tracks of the Paris metro. With more nervousness and care than I'd like to admit we gingerly stepped down between the metal rails just off the end of a platform wondering what madness had possessed us to do so. We'd never done Metro like this before and this scary new world was full of elements we didn't understand at all. Looking at every rail critically working out which carried the power, asking ourselves so many questions: how far could the electricity arc, would that even happen, could the cameras on the platform see us, did security wait in the tunnels after hours, were there any trains after service, if so how fast did they go, did anyone live in the tunnels, would we encounter writers? We'd heard lots of stories about RATP security forgoing the usual legal punishments and simply beating up those found in the tunnels and kicking them out onto the street. We weren't packing paint but would that matter?
February 19th, 2010
David Maisel's The Mining Project reveals the beauty and grandeur of some of the most visibly polluted places on Earth:
Rather than a condemnation of a specific industry, however, my images are intended as an aesthetic response to such despoiled landscapes. These sites are the contemplative gardens of our time, places that offer the opportunity to reflect on who and what we are collectively, as a society. The photographer Walker Evans spoke of the "enchantment of the aesthetically rejected subject." Similarly, I recognize that strip mines, tailings ponds, cyanide leaching fields, and other such zones form a toxic, yet strangely compelling, terra incognita. I am interested in the cartographic powers of photography, and in making an art of the actual, that renders the uncompromising realities of a flawed, complex world.
February 9th, 2009
The Pedreres de s'Hostal on Minorca is a disused stone quarry that is gradually being turned into a heritage park:
In actuality, not only has the quarry been turned into an outdoor history museum decorated with artifacts, it's been landscaped as an arboretum showcasing native Minorcan flora. In keeping with the stonecutters' tradition of cultivating orchards and vegetable gardens in disused quarries, each excavated spaces plays host to a different plant community. For instance, there is a quarry for fruit trees, another for bushes and shrubs and another containing cultivated olive trees and aromatic plants. In one quarry, there is a pond containing freshwater Minorcan plants.
Go and see the photographs; it's a remarkable