In a series entitled Subvisual Subway, photographer Craig Ward get the idea of collecting bacterias of the New York’s subway and making it real artworks that look like paint palette. Collecting samples during the 2015 summer on 22 lines of the Big Apple to make an atypical portrait.
Over the summer of 2015, I rode the trains of each of New York City’s twenty-two subway lines, collecting bacterial samples from hand rails, seats and other high traffic surfaces to create an unorthodox portrait of the city’s residents at the smallest of scales.
The samples were taken using sterilized sponges that had been pre-cut into the letter or number of the subway line from which the sample was to be taken – A, C, 1, 6 etc etc. The swabs were then pressed into pre-poured agar plates – their circular shape echoing the graphic language of the subway – and incubated for up to a week in his Brooklyn workshop, and photographed at various stages of development before being safely neutralized and disposed of.
The resulting images are a snapshot of the city’s constantly shifting ecosystem that each of us contribute to and are a part of. They hopefully also serve as a reminder that in a city that can make you feel small, there are countless billions of smaller inhabitants.