Saturday, December 19, 2009

Abstract light

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.


Rinkly Rimes said...

I am drawn to look through the window. I think I see equal greyness outside and maybe a touch of snow. Am I right?

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

the beauty of darkness?
sometimes the brightness and the vibrancy of my day
yearns for the beauty of darkness...

SandyCarlson said...

Your photos show the art in the living. Beautiful shot.

awareness said...

NO! I missed this news. I LOVE Union Station as it is........!

Mojo said...

Well you well know my long-standing love of night photography. And part of the reason for that is that it blends the rough edges in, hides the uglier parts, and gives us a far more striking light-to-dark contrast. Like your railway platform, a cityscape by day is somehow less impressive than the same one lit up at night. And this time of year, regardless of your standing on holiday decorating and hungama, the added touches of light do have a way of enhancing that.

In fact, the first of my "catch up" links here takes the institutional canvas of a parking lot at RDU International and makes it... something else. Art? You decide.

Thematic Photographic 80: "Abstract" v.4.0 Abstract by Time Lapse

Thematic Photographic 80: "Abstract" v.5.0 Abstract Fail