Absolutely freaking LOVE this! Have you seen any of these?
Over the last several months, a local Philly photographer has quietly been installing his artwork around SEPTA’s City Hall and 15th street subway stations in pre-existing and unused notification frames.
The photographer is Ryan Strand Greenberg, and the project is called Photography starting at $2.50. (Get it? That’s the price to ride the el/subway!) I had been noticing the series via Ryan’s Instagram for the last several weeks, but had yet to see one in person until yesterday, despite using those SEPTA stations quite often. I suspect that’s because many people like the photos and take them for themselves. And that’s part of the artist’s intent, which Ryan is super humbled and flattered by, he explained to me after I reached out to him via email for comment.
“I sort of think about this as a project where everyone pays the same (including myself) and they can interact with the work (or not) in the way that is suited to them, and if people feel compelled to take the work than they can. Surely some of the photos get taken down or are thrown away, some of them get taken by people, and some of them stay up for a while and people can see them.”
“I really think photography, more so than lots of other art forms, is so accessible because its so connected to reality. Its almost a universal language. I have never understood why it has to exist in a uniform context such as a gallery. A lot of my pictures are made in neighborhoods where these trains can take you. In a lot of cases the pictures are of people and places that are connected more so to the subway then to a gallery or museum. It just feels like a more genuine expression for the work I make… I think I put my photographs in City Hall station because it is a central transportation point for people heading to many different areas of the city.”
Ryan updates the various unused notification frames weekly, so keep your eyes out if you use these SEPTA stations regularly!
And SEPTA, if you’re reading, honestly you should pay Ryan and fellow Philly artists to fill your stations with art. Some cities have music on their subway platforms, why can’t Philly be the city with rotating local art on our subway platforms? Support the local art economy, y’all! (SEPTA, seriously email me, let’s talk.)