There were many amazing photographs that really caught my attention at Bergamot Station. In fact there were so many, it was almost hard for me to choose which one to write about and since I’ve been debating between my two favorite photos at the gallery. I have finally decided to write about Churchgate Station, Western Railroad Line, Bombay, India from Photographer Sebatião Salgado’s series, Migrations: Humanity in Transition.
From my first glance I felt in awe of this photo because of its aesthetically pleasing nature. All of the lines caught my attention but I was most drawn to the towering trains that parallel each other. The composition of the photograph is beautifully done, and the parallel nature and size of the trains only help lead the viewer’s eye to the huge amount of people in the station. Furthermore, the use of the light in this photo is quite beautiful and helps make a normally dirty and grungy place (a train station) quite pretty. Furthermore, I was very drawn to the trains because of their size and placement. Though Saldado obviously couldn’t move the trains, he decided to take the picture head on and, from what it seems, an area above the hustle below. The trains size and placement makes the photo seems almost claustrophobic – with all of these people being squished between each other, the walls and the trains that they are trying to catch. The long exposure really adds to the photograph because it gives us, the viewer, the idea that the station was packed with everyone moving very hurriedly. It almost makes the people seem like what you would imagine a pack of rats to look like. They are all very unaware of their surroundings in the chaotic scene below them.
Most interestingly, the photo was not taken in what you would assume as New York City, London, or Paris (big industrial cities known for their public transport). Instead, from the title we see it was taken in India; coupled with the fact that it is from his series that deals with countries being uprooted by globalization (among other things), I believe that the meaning he is trying to portray in this photo is not a positive one. This photo instead tells a story of a country that has been taken over by the globalization of industry and changes its lifestyle in order to keep up with other societies. To me, these people have been forced to become just another blurry face in the crowd as they hurriedly run for their train.