Stations: Seoul


Stations: Seoul

The Seoul metro is comprehensive, efficient, clean, and bright. But it is above all else melodic; so melodic that, if you’ve ever been, you‘re hearing those jingles in your head now.

I’m very glad to have had the chance in April 2023 to photograph Seoul’s trains and stations for my ongoing study of the symmetry and liminality of rail transit. Photos cannot capture the sound of the metro, but the rhythm is, I think, apparent even in images.

Exit Stage Right
Now Boarding

Train stations are liminal spaces, an intersection of people leaving and people returning, people beginning a journey and people completing one.

There is a striking symmetry to this liminality, in both time and space. The temporal symmetry of departing and arriving, of traveling in one direction and the other, is mirrored in the formal symmetry of the structure of train stations, and of the trains themselves. Railways are pairs of tracks; tracks are pairs of rails. To accommodate travelers headed in either direction, platforms might be single, set between the tracks, or double, set to either side. The escalator going up balances the escalator going down. Trains have cabs on each end (often) so they can travel in either direction, and seats on each side with an aisle down the middle (mostly).

Tap On
Home After a Long Night
Long Day

In these images, I sought to create an almost cinematic rendering of my subjects from sometimes mundane and sometimes surprising angles, with the aim of capturing and accentuating the symmetries I found.

Skylight on a Rainy Day
Last Train

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