Saturday, March 22, 2014

Focus On: Parisian Metro Stations (Part One)

Thanks to my travels and interests in urbanism, whenever I'm in another city, I always try and shoot some photos of their metro stations. But not all systems are created equal as both their physical layout and station design help determine how photographically interesting they are. Which means that the Parisian Metro system is easily my favorite system to shoot.

Most important to me - from a photographic standpoint - is the arrangement of the platforms. Island style platforms - with the platforms in the middle of the tracks - are suboptimal as even with a wide lens, you can't really capture platform. Far better are platforms on either side of the tracks, allowing you to shoot across the right-of-way to the far side (elevated island style platforms - ala the CTA - at least allow for shots of the surrounding city. Underground island platforms are almost photographically useless).

The Parisian Metro system (usually) combines platforms outside of the right-of-way with classic station architecture. And they're even well lit. To top it off, with train headways of only a couple of minutes, it's too easy to simply skip a train to wait for the opposite platform to clear out.

Here's a few examples:

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