Italian Claudio Galamini has a thing for taking photos of U-Bahn stations. His Instagram feed is full of them. He admits that he “might not be the first or last person to do it”, but he’s faithfully documented all of Berlin’s underground stations and is now working on photographing all of Munich’s, for posterity’s sake. Each Instagram photo is accompanied with a short history of the station, and occasionally the name of its designer.
The photos are simple, straight, and void of passengers. They’re not particularly artistic, in that they don’t play with light, shadows or angles, but in their own way, they’re beautiful snapshots of our subterranean transport network. I spoke to Claudio about his project – my interest piqued as to why he feels the urge to document Germany’s metro stations – and he told me all about his project.
Born near Bologna, Claudio spent ten years living in New York City, before moving to Berlin in March 2015. Having ridden New York’s grey metro for a decade, he was struck by how colourful Berlin’s underground system was. Christie, from A Sausage Has Two, made the same comment about Washington’s metro system recently. Why are US undergrounds so grey?
Claudio became fascinated with the Berlin U-Bahn, which opened in 1902, and says: “After riding the Berlin U-bahn for about three weeks, I started noticing the colours, art, tiles, shapes and lights…and after finally seeing Konstanzer Straße – my inspiration – I decided to start this Instagram project. The stations before and after Konstanzer Straße are also amazing – and slowly, the project developed in my mind.”
Claudio moved to Munich in July 2016, which has given him one hundred new stations to photograph. I asked if he heads out with the aim of taking photos of U-Bahn stations, or if he happens upon them while travelling around the city. “I do go out with the aim of shooting particular stations. For example, during the Wiesn I took photos of stations around the area”.
So far, Claudio’s managed to photograph a third of Munich’s network – and his favourite thus far is Theresienwiese and its golden hues.
The next underground system to be documented will be that of Nuremberg, but Claudio hopes to photograph all that Germany has to offer, one day. I personally think the photographs would look great in a gallery, and I hope he exhibits them one day.