July: Underworlds

As the title of this image suggests, I have several keepers of the many photographs I have made of “underworlds.” Underworld I and Underworld II were both made from moving trains, one in Baltimore and one in Chicago. This one was made on foot in Austin, Texas.

Underworld III

Passing through such spaces while alone in the car frustrates me. Typically, there’s no place to pull over to make pictures and otherwise appreciate the space. Most of the time, I successfully resist the urge to pick up my phone and shoot while driving!

I imagine designers of bridges and highway interchanges focused on the superstructure and “aboveworld” points of view. Underworlds are what’s left over, the unintended consequence, in a sense, of what the designer did on purpose.

Occasionally you will see architectural embellishments, like a pattern in poured concrete, or other evidence that some humans put thought and effort into making these accidental spaces attractive, like painted columns. Nice, but those decorations are not what draws my eye.

Rather, the quality of light is different. Lines and pattern are different. It’s cooler on a summer day. A bit of solitude is here, even with traffic roaring overhead. Shhh! Don’t give us away!

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