Christopher Forsyth: Metrographics

Photograph/Christopher Forsyth

Photograph/Christopher Forsyth

Christopher Forsyth goes underground, to bring to light the architecture of metro stations around the world, in graphical detail.

My Assignment

  • Description
    The series explores the overlooked architecture, and design of the metro stations we use everyday.
  • Duration
    The project began in October of 2014 and is ongoing.
  • Notes
    I won the International Photographer of the Year award 2015, for the Montreal Metro project.

Urban jungles with their jagged skylines have always fascinated me, while cameras have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. But, it was only about three years ago that I made my foray into architectural photography, clubbing the two things that I liked the most.

Being a student, the metro was a place that I visited frequently, and eventually developed a great admiration for its creative use of cement structures juxtaposed with vibrant colours and lights. So when I received a photography assignment at school, choosing the Montreal metro as my subject, came naturally to me. What began as a school assignment, the Metro project culminated into my award–winning Montreal Metro series and received widespread positive response. Thus, I decided to continue adding to the project.

Having covered the Montreal network extensively, I started research on other interesting metro networks around the globe, before setting my sights on the European cities of Munich, Berlin, and Stockholm.

I am drawn towards compositions with recurring shapes, as I feel like it adds complexity and layers. Photograph/Christopher Forsyth

I am drawn towards compositions with recurring shapes, as I feel like it adds complexity and layers. Photograph/Christopher Forsyth

My Perspective
Each station, with its unique style of architecture, has a distinct personality and my photos are a projection of how I see the imposing beauty of these stations. With their lines, shapes and patterns hidden away in plain sight, they are nothing short of architectural landmarks, overlooked in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The Process
Being a stickler for detail, I would take test shots on my smartphone to find a compelling frame, before limiting my mobility with heavy equipment. Once my composition was crisp and all the elements aligned, I would set my exposure and patiently wait for an empty scene and a train to pass through the station, in order to capture the image.

The way that the project has shaped out, it has given me the desire to explore metro networks worldwide in the hopes of
unraveling with my lens, architecture that has escaped the public eye.

On Photographing Architecture in a Graphical Style

  • Take Test Shots: Smartphones provide a great way of experimenting with framing,before settling for the final composition.
  • Sensitivity to Light: Be aware of the direction of light, as this can increase contrast, shadows, textures and reflections.
  • Explore your Surroundings: You never know which site or building that you perhaps see daily, may reveal a completely different side of itself.

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of Better Photography.

— As told to Aarushi Redij

To view more images from Christopher’s work, visit his website

Tags: On Assignment, better photography, August 2016, Christopher Forsyth, Metro Stations, Montreal, Montreal Metro, Aarushi Redij