A crossing point par excellence, the subway represents the converging point of hundreds of worlds that, in the time of a journey, share a space and time infinitely limited compared to an entire existence.
Yet, especially for those who daily travel by subway, this microcosm becomes extremely familiar, a concentration of recurrences, rituals and rhythms often automatically experienced.
Always lighted by the same light, during the opening hours every action repeats equal to itself, victim of a potentially eternal repetition: an alienation interrupted only by some careful looks, able to grasp the magic (and even the irony) of everyday life.
Thus, the photographic image becomes the ideal tool to capture the true essence of the subway, actually made of hundreds of small details and moments of pure poetry or fun.
To this thousands of posts are dedicated on Instagram, the social that more than all allows us to share immediately the fleeting of a unique and blinding moment in the monotony of always equal days: nothing like Instagram contributes to creating shared visual imaginaries of places, events or people.
In this first appointment, Dialogica wants to put in dialogue two Instagram accounts, which find their habitat in the subway par excellence, the New York one, although driven by two extremely different researches.
Subwaycreatures is a serial profile in which the author Rick McGuire collects photographic contributions and videos of thousands of authors able to capture the funniest and bizarre moments that occur on the subway. The page, active since 2013, has quickly become a social phenomenon and represents one of the most important collectors of images on the New York City subway.
No attention to the composition, the framing or the colors: this creates an independent visual research that does not fear the so-called “ugly” and distances itself from a predefined vision both from a formal point of view and content
The real protagonists of each contribution are in fact only the “creatures” (almost fantastic) populating everyday the subway. Each carousel collects images and/or videos linked together by the same theme: scrolling the feed, it will not be difficult to come across the best and weird disguises met in the subway, or a selection of dogs transported in bags or plastic bags (by law, on New York subways only “handbag dogs” can travel).
On the other hand, the Subwayhands profile is driven by a totally different aesthetic, it’s a project conceived and created by photographer Hannah Ryan who dedicates this account to one of the most communicative parts of our body: the hands.
The hands tell in an honest and sincere state of mind, they do not lie and they speak more than we can imagine, and that’s why Hannah began to photograph them.
Hands shaking, hands flicking, hands holding objects, gloved, cured or neglected hands: every hand becomes a world, a synecdoche that explores feelings, relationships, situations and stories and becomes the kick-off to invent fantastic stories.
In this shots, there are poetry, care and formal homogeneity, they are taken at a close distance, enough to clearly suggest the place where you are (thanks to a cool artificial light that does not hide, indeed, emphasizes the scene), but not too much to break the magic of the moment.
With discretion and delicacy, Hanna photographs individual hands, couples or groups of hands, without ever revealing people’s faces: the intent is to suggest stories, to portrait the universality of proxemics and everyday life poetry.
As the hands holding the sign “Will you marry me?” tell about the personal story of a marriage proposal (ended with a yes from the bride, as we learn from the comments to the post), so other older posts testify to epochal events such as the #blacklivesmatter protest or even the pandemic period during which the hands were protected by gloves or other devices not to come into contact with the surfaces.
The eye of the photographer, whether a professional or an amateur, returns a varied and heterogeneous cartography of another world living underground, far from the rules and social distinctions that regulate the surface world: all these looks, also invite us to look more carefully at the details during our trips.