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.

Send a message!



3 Comments


  1. Nice Theresa

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
L&I An Overlooked Asset To Historic Preservation Efforts

L&I An Overlooked Asset To Historic Preservation Efforts

November 16, 2018  |  Vantage

Dana Rice looks at "demolition by neglect" and the potential of the Department of Licenses and Inspections as an unlikely ally in the fight to solve Philly's preservation crisis > more

The Making & Breaking Of The Philadelphia Commercial Museum

The Making & Breaking Of The Philadelphia Commercial Museum

November 14, 2018  |  Vantage

Edward Duffy takes us back when industry, commerce, and foreign trade flooded the halls of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, the first institution of its kind in the United States > more

Rare Books Department At FLP Examines A City In Transition

Rare Books Department At FLP Examines A City In Transition

November 9, 2018  |  News

Affordable housing, displacement and gentrification, demolition for redevelopment--sounds a lot like today's local headlines, but Philly has been dealing with these issues for decades. This and more is addressed in the new exhibition, "Philadelphia: The Changing City," now on view at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Ali Roseberry-Polier has the review. > more

Dispatch From the Dolomites: Lamenting the Loss of Northern Italy's Philly Twin

Dispatch From the Dolomites: Lamenting the Loss of Northern Italy’s Philly Twin

November 7, 2018  |  Vantage

Contributor Ann de Forest dials home from Italy where she visits a little chapel that, until recently, had a sibling on Christian Street > more

Secluded Stone Stairway On Lincoln Drive Revealed

Secluded Stone Stairway On Lincoln Drive Revealed

November 2, 2018  |  Vantage

A mysterious set of stairs next to Monoshone Creek leads Sharon Barr on a path to uncover its origins > more

The Ghastly Tale Of South Philly’s Cult Of The Holy Ghost

The Ghastly Tale Of South Philly’s Cult Of The Holy Ghost

October 30, 2018  |  Vantage

A secretive cult dedicated to the worship of a Swiss woman met a horrific end in 19th century South Philly. Ryan Briggs unearths the grim details > more