A look at Stephen Mallon’s photography

Stephen Mallon's Next Stop Atlantic.
Stephen Mallon’s Next Stop Atlantic.

Just the other day I came across a photographer’s portfolio that really interested me, so I thought I’d share it with you as well. More specifically, I came across Stephen Mallon’s photo essay entitled, Next Stop Atlantic, where he documented the disposal of old NYC subway trains into the Atlantic Ocean. What?! You may be asking yourself. This practice is part of the artificial reef-building program, and is apparently to foster the growth of plant and marine- life under the depths of the ocean. The hard metal from the subway trains act as a stable ground for reef to grow on, which in turn will eventually provide food for other marine life. Mallon documented this program from 2008 to 2011 and the results are quite striking to see.

The site of old subway cars being “dumped” into the ocean is not something you would see everyday. The sheer amount of subway cars that were dumped was astounding to see for me as well. To think all of those now lay on the bottom of the ocean floor is something to think about. Mallon manages to capture all of this in an intimate way despite its non-intimate process.

A lot of this, I believe has to do with his editing of this series as well. His edits yielded in a toned-down colour palette that is very subtle and slightly muted. He’s sharpened the images just the right amount, allowing the key areas to pop out as needed. Some people may be accustomed to saying that there may be a VSCO preset to these, and indeed there probably is. The key here is knowing when and how to edit a photo to get your intended message out.

To see more of Mallon’s work, you can find him on his website here. Alternatively, there’s a short interview of him and his thoughts on this project, here.

Image courtesy of Stephen Mallon and mymodernmet.com

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