Next Stop Atlantic - A Stunning Series by Stephen Mallon

Series by Stephen Mallon
Most New Yorkers know that they are doing their part of being ‘green’ by riding public transit everyday. But most of the natives had no idea that when a subway car dies, it is still being used to help save our environment. That is where Stephen Mallon’s series “Next Stop Atlantic” fills in the blanks. Stephen Mallon, a critically acclaimed award winning photographer based in Brooklyn, have worked on this photo series for three years. 

weeks 297

How did you get connected with shooting this series, and how did you ultimately choose to spin it?

I was approached by an agent that was interested in doing a book with me so I wanted to find a relevant theme that tied into what I was already shooting. We had been traveling around (we used to call it "picture hunting") looking for interesting industrial landscapes to photograph for a couple of years and realized that focusing on the re-use of space and material was a smooth transition. The project is titled "American Reclamation" and that got me started shooting a paper mill, two electronic recycling plants, and a cement factory at the beginning. In 2007, I was out scouting for another project and I spotted the barge in Bayonne now loaded with old NYC subway cars. Trains have always been a passion of mine and when I found out these were being used to create artificial reefs it was a perfect fit for both me and the project itself

Train in the sky

Do you dive?

Not yet!

What are the technical aspects of shooting the cars while dumped into the waters?

I had to shoot at a high shutter speed to freeze the cars in motion and also needed to keep myself fluid to absorb the movement of the boat.



What have you learned in the three year period it took to shoot this series? How does that period compare to the first time you shot the cars? 

I made my selects showing different moments of the cars meeting their new home. One of my favorites is titled "shallow". The car is frozen and about to hit the water. I've always imagined it to be that narcissistic moment of the car looking at its own reflection about to fall.  Each time I went out I was searching for the moment that I hadn’t captured previously. One of my other favorites is titled “splash”, where I had asked them to throw it off at a little more of an angle to change the mood. I think it worked out pretty well.

Virginia Placement

Your other series are also all about industrial life. How did you get started in this genre of photography?

I have been shooting landscape work for 25+ years. I went through a number of generations of being a photographer with nudes, photo illustration, fashion, and travel. That all lead me to the licensing model where I worked with image agencies for ten years shooting and producing work for magazines, commercial clients, and image libraries. After a trip to Niger my creative director suggested that I should go shoot some more landscapes that had a industrial feel to them. In 2007, I had a solo exhibition of that work and ended up meeting the book agent. 

pilot house 30x45, from the USS Radford, the destroyer that they sank in 2011 for the artificial reef

Stephen Mallon will be speaking at BH on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM.

Stephen's Gear

Canon MK3 DS  

70-200 2.8 Lens

17-40 f4 Lens

16-35 f2.8 Lens

35mm f2 Lens

All Images courtesy of Stephen Mallon and Front Room Gallery.  The image “Dont do this” (shown on the article cover) will be featured along with other work by Mallon in the solo exhibition “Patterns of Interest” at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries from Feb. 6 to March 15.

Limor Garfinkle's picture

Limor Garfinkle lives and works in NYC as an art director and the in-house photographer for the ad agency SMA. Started out in the field just three short years ago as a wedding photojournalist, and soon after switched to architectural photography, shooting interiors for commercial spaces such as Spotify, Amex, Warner Music Group, Clear Channel, etc.

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I hope this series is not celebrating the polluting activity going on and instead informing the poor actions by those decided to pollute the seas with more garbage... right?

Actually this has nothing to do with pollution. It actually helps generate grounds for spiecies to grow and be healthy. The wagons help form a reef over the next century which will be housing an immense array of wild life. read upon artificial reefs and take notes on the comments of marine biologists.

That's right Max :)