25 Lomos: 3. Underground reflections (2003)

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London’s Tube network is a great place for Lomography.

The Lomo’s tendency to vignette and the saturated, contrasty look of cross-processed film can make the Tube’s warren of tunnels and passageways look edgy and atmospheric in a way digital really struggles. Plus, you don’t need a flash – and London Underground takes a dim view of photographers whose flash fires just as the trains pull into the platform.

This shot was taken at Westminster station, shortly after the extension of the Jubilee Line. The line, which was opened in the late 1970s as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, used to end at Charing Cross, south of the city’s landmark Trafalgar Square.

In the late 1990s the Jubilee Line bypassed Charing Cross – opening a station at Westminster instead – and headed east, bringing the great grey line to Waterloo and London Bridge, the financial hub at Canary Wharf and onto the North Greenwich and the Millennium Dome (now the O2 Arena).

The new Jubilee Line came with some modern features, not least Perspex barriers between the platform and the trains to stop people falling onto the line.

The ad here – the giant grinning face appearing out of the gloom – is on the far side of the platform. The station name – and the figure, seemingly standing on a protruding piece of platform – are reflected across it. I saw this picture forming just before a train arrived at the station, and had enough time to click off a frame with my LC-A.

I like this because, even having taken it, it’s still slightly confusing as to what’s going on. It’s something that looking at the work of the great street photographers has taught me – even if the most everyday locations, you can find a touch of the surreal if you look hard enough.

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