The Munich U-Bahn photographed by Nick Franck
Art director strips out all distractions from his photographs to reveal each location's purity, line and shape
Few big city commutes are as aesthetically pleasing - even uplifting - as those offered by the Munich U-Bahn system. Indeed, while Munich-based art director [Nick Frank](Nick Frank: http:/www.iso72.de) only started taking photographs in 2010 he almost immediately identified the beauty behind everyday life on the U-Bahn (running since the 1972 Olympics) and decided to photograph it in all its architectural beauty.
“I’m an art director working in advertising, and in my job I am trying to reduce until you see the essence of what I want to show,” he says. “So basically I am removing distractions until you can focus some form of pureness. This is what I am doing with my subway shots. It is a challenge. Every station I know has prominent elements. It can be a sign, a stair, a colourful wall, lights, or the elevator.”
Unlike other architectural photographers such as Iwan Baan for instance, Frank decided against showing people in his photographs, preferring viewers not to be distracted by the hustle and bustle of the city. “It's about the location's pureness, form, lines, and shapes. I am not shooting a coverage or a certain moment. I want the viewer to get a feeling for location - what it would be like to stand there,” he says.
Naturally subway stations don’t stay people-free for long and Munich’s U-Bahn stations are no exception so most of Frank's photographs were shot at around 6am on a Sunday. Even then some of them took around 10 hours of editing to create the image Frank saw in his head when he pressed the button.
Hanging around the stations at strange hours did have some benefits he told the wonderful The Atlantic Cities blog: “I find it really fascinating how the people on subways change throughout the day. From 5-7 a.m. you have the shift workers, cleanup staff and homeless people. From 8-9 there are all those businessmen and women. And from 10-12 you'll see lots of students and retirees. Subways connect locations. They allow us to spend time together. They're for everyone no matter what class or race.”