Last week at the South Avenue entrance to the Rochester subway, I saw photographer Michelle Turner. Following a story about her exhibit at the Greenhouse Cafe, Michelle joined our visual conversation including a stunning black and white photograph of Rochester’s Mercury.
Having found love and hope in the subway and having stopped in the subway to journal with the Bike Writer’s, I was excited to learn that Michelle is compiling her own series of subway images.
Along with her images, Michelle tells why she was at the subway, and some observations on the flurry of construction activity at the site:
On a recent visit to Rochester’s abandoned subway a small group of locals interested in photography, subway history and engineering were surprised to see construction activity. Previous visits have always been very quiet but this time there were large lights like those seen lighting up roadway construction projects at night; a couple men in hard hats, one traveling by pick-up truck; and construction materials, mostly in locked storage containers. I Googled the city website for construction projects but didn’t find anything listed for the subway but I wonder if it has anything to do with the Court St road project, possibly shoring up the roadway from underneath. However, not being an engineer, that’s only an uneducated guess.
I did learn why the engineers were there. As explained by RIT’s Director of Women in Engineering Kathrine Ehrlich-Scheffer:
I was there to meet up with Michelle, as well as a representative from the NYS Museum of Transportation to tour the subway ahead of a fall tour I’m preparing for a group of new female engineering students. The tour will take place in September. As Director of Women in Engineering at RIT, I’m charged with providing both leadership opportunities to our female engineering students, and also opportunities to build community. This year, I am trying to build community while introducing them to the place they will call home for the next 5 years, or in the case of the locals, re-introduce them.
It’s great that RIT — in conjunction with NYS Museum of Transportation — sees the subway for what it is and can be: one of Rochester’s treasured resources. Like many when hearing about the ongoing construction at the South Avenue site, I hope the subway is preserved for all to enjoy: an engineering marvel and a place to draw your own graffiti art and make beautiful photographs.
MORE ROCHESTER ARTISTS IN OUR VISUAL CONVERSATION