Justine Marasigan accepts a prize, a loaded Presto card, for her work in the exhibit, which was named Best in Show. PHOTO: LEAH HANSEN

Second-year photography students explore GTA transportation

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By Mackenzie Davidson

As part of a project celebrating a collaboration with Metrolinx, 80 second-year Ryerson photography students saw their work displayed at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre in an exhibit called Moving On.

The event, sponsored and hosted by Metrolinx, represents the latest in their relationship with Ryerson, which began with a team from the Digital Media Zone building the Metrolinx GO Transit iOS app.

The students, as part of Iain Cameron’s second year class, were asked to take photos of urban transportation in the GTA.

An exciting mix of themes appears around the gallery, captured by each photographer’s unique style. Many of the works exude a quiet daring — people appear as the focal point in many of the compositions, often looking straight into the camera. Other photos exhibit a more reflective side of urban transportation — patterns and textures that appear around the TTC, and compositions devoid of life. Instead, they capture the angular beauty of some of the platforms and stations that are otherwise known for their utilitarianism.

Some of the most poignant work comes from Justine Marasigan, whose work was selected by a Metrolinx panel for Best in Show. Her series of three color photographs capture the stark newness of the newly reconstructed Erindale GO Station. Her photos are “en experiment with modern forms,” se said, an accurate thematic description of her blunt futurist compositions, an aesthetic that shares a lot more with 1970s science fiction than viewers would expect.

Cameron, whose second-year class undertook the photography project, was surprised at the quality of the collective body of work his students managed to produce.

“Maybe what surprised me most was how brave some of the photos were,” he said, referring to the almost confrontational style of some of the photographs. Many of the photos’ subjects are looking right into the camera while they’re sitting on the subway, or getting in and out of streetcars.

“I was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to do it, I’m not used to restricting them so much,” he said of the assignment to capture public transportation. “All of their photographs came out quite nice, I’m proud of them.”

The Ryerson-Metrolinx collaboration is the latest in a series of culture-focused projects Metrolinx has sponsored.

“The work we see produced here is amazing,” said Malon Edwards, a Metrolinx representative who oversaw the collaboration. “We’re happy to sponsor opportunities like these for students.”

Moving On: Ryerson Photography Students Explore Urban Transportation Around the GTA runs until April 13 at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre.

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