Overlooked Underground

Canadian photographer Christopher Forsyth has spent the last year shooting the subterranean stations that makeup the metro systems in Europe and Canada. Continuing his quest to capture the ‘overlooked’ beauty of the metro system, Montreal-based Chris Forsyth has recently completed the latest instalment of his award-winning metro series.

From the ‘Metro Series” © Chris M Forsyth

Including Munich, Berlin and Stockholm, as well as smaller sets of Hamburg and Prague, the evocative ‘Montreal Metro’ series, captured worldwide attention and earned the 20-year old a 2015 International Photographer of the Year award.

The Montreal Metro is Canada’s busiest metro system, but Forsyth says most passengers barely notice the “beautiful design” of its 68 stations, many of which were completed in the 1960s. His ‘Metro Project’ is a personal exploration of the art and architecture of metro stations around the world. Each space communicates a unique atmosphere that is a product of its design, from Montreal’s Brutalist stations to Stockholm’s hand-painted bedrock caves.

From the ‘Metro Series” © Chris M Forsyth

Forsyth began sharing his photos on his Instagram using the hashtag #mtlmetroproject. After Montrealers and visitors also started to share their metro shots, a rapidly growing archive of the many stations was established. Soon it was all that Chris Forsyth shot. He can spend several days underground just taking photos of what he would find.

“When travelling underground, you lose your sense of time and distance. You can enter one station in a certain neighbourhood, hop on the metro for a few minutes, and find yourself disoriented in a completely different part of town. It’s hard to understand where you are exactly and how point A and B are connected. I love the metro for that reason. I enjoy getting lost and finding new corridors and trying to piece it all back together.”

From the ‘Metro Series” © Chris M Forsyth

“Over time, huge empty stations became the face of my series – my own personal touch. It helped a lot, seeing as Quebec is the only Canadian province with laws in place against photographing people in public spaces. Not having permission from STM, the metro authority, to take photos, it is a lot easier if I avoid disturbing anyone in the first place. When an employee of the STM approaches me, I explain that I’m taking architecture photos devoid of people, and if they tell me to leave, I just move on to the next station”

To Follow Chris on his Instagram Page