During my daily commute, I realised that I know nothing about the many stations that I pass and don’t alight at. Are the takeaway shops nicer than at my station? Which has a cafe serving the best oat milk latte? Do the vending machines get jammed all the same? With all these questions swimming in my head, I gave myself the very ambitious task of finding out – one station at a time.
I start the same way each time, taking instax photos to introduce the day’s journey then I use my dad’s trusty Asahi Pentax Spotmatic to document further. For the majority of the stations, I used Kodak Colorplus 200 which gave a really nice, warm, character to the photos.
All in all there were 17 stations, each with their own quirks and qualities.
One of the earlier stations was Macquarie Fields, which I knew really didn’t have any shops around but still I was determined to uncover its charms. As I looked around, the only architectural structure was the footbridge connecting the two platforms. I was immediately drawn to it and its symmetry. When I got to the top, I was in awe of the view. Seeing the tracks go on to infinity like this was something else. My 28mm lens tends to flare like this without the lens hood and I think it added a little bit of extra magic.
As I continued on my journey, I realised I had subconsciously made a checklist of things that I absolutely had to take a photo of for each station. One of these constants were the station signs. I liked having these as a thumbnail to remind me what is on the roll and also of course to introduce the station.
Another point on my checklist was stairs. After Macquarie Fields station I became more aware of the presence and importance of stairs. For some reason, I’m fascinated with how something so simple can help get you from A to B, and how varied they can look as well. Some might find them daunting even, but I felt that this set of stairs looked quite nice in this light.
There are a few underground stations on the train line so I decided to use Lomography 800 for those, however the grain was not to my taste. There was an instant where there was Colorplus left in the camera whilst I was in an underground station and the photos came out much much better. I should’ve just put my complete trust in Colorplus!
As I walk around and grow hungry, I settle upon a local restaurant and decide to end the day there. Now that I’ve explored all the many neighbourhoods, I now know where is best for a feed! I know for sure that I’ll be revisiting these places even just for the food!
Upon completing the project, I feel I now have more of a sense of the places I pass by. I no longer feel like an alien but a true local. I was able to experience first-hand the differences and similarities of each station and its surrounding suburb. I enjoyed seeing different kinds of architecture within the stations and also the differences between the kinds of shops I encountered while walking around. If you ever feel like you’re stuck creatively or you don’t have the opportunity to travel far, exploring your local area is a great idea!
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