In Transit

 
Editor’s NoteTheresa Stigale has been a workhorse contributor to the Hidden City Daily, shooting portraits of life on 52nd Street, Woodland Avenue and the Calle de Oro a.k.a. North Fifth Street to name just a few. Here,  she takes a look at life on SEPTA in a project she began for a class at University of the Arts. Subways have been proven to be fertile ground for photographers over the years, most famously Walker Evans’s and Bruce Davidson’s portraits of passengers in New York City. Theresa’s project focused on something a little different, though. We’ll let her tell it: 

“This project started out with my attraction to the imperfections in glass, especially when they are exaggerated by artificial illumination at night, which creates unusual color temperatures. The light reflected off of glass surfaces at night was actually quite beautiful, despite its imperfections, especially in the rain. With that as my starting point, I sought to capture scenes where this scratched and defaced glass could frame or enhance the people  in my photos, or even stand alone as a statement of the actual  conditions in the SEPTA system.

“The project segued from photographing just  “night glass,”  to more a narrative of the commuter on a journey, hinting  at people’s isolation even though they were in a public place. I worked  as unobtrusively as possible, to capture authentic moments, whereas in most of my street photography I enjoy meeting new people and engaging in conversations. I used my compact Sony RX-100, which is not much bigger than my iPhone.  I never hid my camera and wore it over my coat.

“But as I was shooting I was also keenly aware that I too was being observed–usually  by jammed cars full of commuters, some glaring at my camera suspiciously. As interesting as those images would have been, I was not interested in confrontation. Occasionally it was unavoidable, though: A SEPTA worker on an El platform  pointed out in the most friendly way possible, the many cameras in which I was being recorded myself. A group of police officers in the subway concourse downtown looked at me with amusement and asked why I was taking photos but did not stop me–not that they should have. I had read up on SEPTA’s photography policies and knew that it was okay to take pictures. This was afterall, a “personal project” and I was being ‘courteous.'”

 

About the author

Theresa Stigale was born and raised in Southwest Philly. She earned a B.B.A. from Temple University in 1983. Theresa is a photographer as well as a licensed Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker, developer and instructor. In the past ten years, she has documented the loft conversion projects that she and her partners have completed in Philadelphia, from stately old abandoned warehouses covered with graffiti to vintage factories, some still active with manufacturing. Visit her web site at TheresaStigalePhotography.com.



3 Comments


  1. Nice Theresa

Recent Posts
Mantua’s Brandywine Park To Become A Stonehenge Of Neighborhood Memories

Mantua’s Brandywine Park To Become A Stonehenge Of Neighborhood Memories

October 2, 2014  |  Morning Blend

A community redesign of the public gateway, elevators coming to 40th Street Station, anticipating the Uptown’s reopening, and a new mural in Passyunk Square > more

The Hidden River On Grand Display

The Hidden River On Grand Display

October 2, 2014  |  News

With a boardwalk in Center City and a reimagined rec center in Manayunk each set to open this week, Philadelphia has two inspiring venues in which to see the Schuylkill River anew. Brad Maule previews the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk and Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center > more

Wary Neighbors Keep A Watchful Eye On Threatened Kenworthy House

Wary Neighbors Keep A Watchful Eye On Threatened Kenworthy House

October 1, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Developer received stop-work order from L&I, a slow year in Center City office space deals, 13th & South development news, and Rodin Square construction begins today > more

My Favorite Place: Carman Garden Skating Rink

My Favorite Place: Carman Garden Skating Rink

September 30, 2014  |  My Favorite Place

Take a peek inside Carmen Gardens, where we'll be celebrating the Hidden City Daily's third anniversary this Friday, October 3rd > more

Demolition of Fishtown’s St. Laurentius More And More Likely

Demolition of Fishtown’s St. Laurentius More And More Likely

September 30, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Chaput decertifies Polish church, how to connect The Circuit, residences coming to 36th & Market Science Center project, and City Council reportedly mulling over selling PGW > more

The Legend Of Midtown Village

The Legend Of Midtown Village

September 29, 2014  |  The Shadow Knows

Chemistry labs, karate, puppet theater, and a prostitution ring? The Shadow strikes again! This week we hear about the Guilded Age real estate mogul Felix Isman and his bay-windowed beauty at 13th and Sansom > more