The DC Metro System for Architect Magazine

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In May, I spent two days riding the Metro for Architect Magazine. I rode on trains during the early morning rush, pressed up against my fellow commuters as we collectively surrendered our personal space to the gods of convenience. Hours later, I stood completely alone on a dim, subterranean platform, watching for that pale ochre light of an oncoming train to seep into the station, signaling its impending arrival.

What I didn't truly understand about the Metro was the secret language of its design. The coffered ceilings are the system's most recognizable feature but throughout the Metro, a broad, flexible but surprisingly consistent design template exists- from the spacing of the floor tiles to the typography of the signs. All of these details are in service of the essential act of moving people quickly and efficiently (at least most of the time) from one place to another while maintaining that familiarity of space. 

As Zach Mortice writes for The American Institute of Architects:

Across 86 stations—underground, at-grade, and elevated—spread over five lines covering 106 miles, the design identity of each station shines through. If a commute begins at a ground-level suburban fringe station next to a parking lot and ends at a hub of crisscrossing train tracks deep below downtown D.C., the common design elements and shared materials make each space navigable and understandable.
It’s an intensely formalist experience as mass transit goes; colossal concrete vaults, granite, and bronze are combined in an unmistakably monumental mid-century modernist manner.

My gallery of images can be seen here.

If you have any interest in the metro, I also highly recommend this piece by Lawrence Blemiller which helped me appreciate the thinking that went into the building of the system.

Healthcare.gov Tech Team for Time

Healthcare.gov Tech Team for Time

Six minutes in, the tech saviors of Healthcare.gov (and arguably President Obama's legacy) were getting restless. We were crammed into the Press Secretary's office at the White House with barely enough room to fit the 9' seamless and I had already worked through several options in that improper arithmetic of trying to arrange an odd number of people.

The shoot had come together the previous afternoon in an email from Paul Moakley @ Time inquiring about my availability for the next morning at the White House. I'd be photographing a group of anywhere between three and six people on white seamless. Since the President was traveling that day, we were given the Press Secretary's office to set up in. We got everything set up and ready and in walked seven people, ready to be photographed. As a quick aside, this may be one of my favorite things about editorial photography. Unlike my commercial shoots where things are often planned down to the last minute, there's often a feeling of winging it and improvisation in magazine shoots as the best laid plans quickly fall apart under the new realities of a situation and one is forced to drop everything and pivot to a new idea. It's stressful in the moment, but also seems to engender some of the best ideas going forward. 

Google's Mike Dickerson for Time

Google's Mike Dickerson for Time

That said, I always try to have a Plan B. In this case, as I sensed I was losing the group, I decided to do individual portraits of each subject. It never hurts to give the magazine more than they asked for, and I assumed there'd be different trajectories for each subject in the story that might be well-illustrated by these individual portraits. I couldn't be happier with the way this all ran and my deepest thanks to the great editors at Time who called on me and ran such a nice edit of the images.aThat said, I always try to have a Plan B. In this case, as I sensed I was losing the group, I decided to do individual portraits of each subject. It never hurts to give the magazine more than they asked for, and I assumed there'd be different trajectories for each subject in the story that might be well-illustrated by these individual portraits. I couldn't be happier with the way this all ran and my deepest thanks to the great editors at Time who called on me and ran such a nice edit of the images.

Healthcare.gov Tech Team for Time

Healthcare.gov Tech Team for Time