Arts et Métiers

This is track 11 of the metro station Arts et Métiers in Paris.  In 1994 it was fitted out in homage to (arguably) the father of science fiction, Jules Verne.  The gears and wheels descending from the ceiling are what would now be considered classic Steampunk, the copper and brass curved walls imitating the inside of Verne’s submarine from 20,000 leagues under the sea.

I set the camera up on a tripod and was taking long exposures.  The trains come from both directions at roughly the same time, every 4 or so minutes.  Passengers left and entered the train, giving me funny looks as they walked past, almost certainly wondering whether they’ve just been filmed of photographed.  After all that activity, I take my photos in the lull – a minute when the platform is mostly deserted, save for a few homeless, a few that just missed catching the last train, a few that walked one direction before turning around after realising they were headed to the wrong exit and there are others – I don’t know why the others were still there, maybe they were just checking out the station?  Even though my world was observing theirs, I was too entranced to know for sure.

In processing the image, I boosted the colours and lighting to emphasise the surreal atmosphere of the platform.  I may have taken it a step too far and I might reprocess it later, but for now, I love it and seeing it transports me back there  (the acrid smell of a carpark stairwell also reminds me of the Metro but that’s far more unpleasant and a totally different story)

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