Out of the darkness
Toronto, ON, March 2009
About this photo: We're exploring abstract themes this week. Please click here for the launch entry for this Thematic Photographic theme.The platforms at Toronto's Union Station (wiki) aren't the highlight of anyone's trip. They're as close to dark, damp, exhaust-choked warehouses as you'll get. The front of the building is, of course, something of an architectural wonder. But back here where the tracks run? Um, not so much.
Still, I'm something of a heretic in that I believe this space has a beauty all its own. As your train arrives in Toronto, you go from enjoying the aerial spectacle of the skyline to near-darkness as you slowly roll into the covered shed over the platform. Then as you disembark onto the narrow, crumbling concrete walkway beside the tracks, you hang back, away from the sheepwalking crowds plodding their way toward the escalators.
As your eyes adjust to the murky light, you begin to notice little details, the hanging light fixtures, the shadows, the flourishes of corrugated metal. There's a gritty, industrial elegance to this place. You feel a quick pang of regret that more people don't stop and smell the rust-tinged, figurative roses more often.
Somewhat sadly, this space will soon cease to exist. The government's just announced a grand plan to totally rebuild the platforms and turn them into brightly lit, dramatic examples of what Europeans have done so well for so long. The end result will doubtless be impressive in its own right. But the grittiness and thoughtfulness will be gone.
Your turn: The beauty of darkness. Please discuss.