Vol. 44: Creating Unusual Spaces: Billboards in the Paris Metro

I was looking forward to traveling on the Parisian subway, the Metro, before I visited Paris, especially because I would be able to see some of the fantastic billboards on the station platforms. Subway platforms are usually pretty uninteresting affairs, and they have a reputation for being drab and unexciting. But the situation is different in Paris.

The enormous posters that cover all of the walls up to the ceiling in the circular space give rise to a sense of space totally different from that we encounter under normal living conditions. The enormous human figures and landscapes impose themselves upon us and present us with a strange sensation. The bright coloration lights up the inside of the station. The stylishly designed posters make such a strong visual impression that one runs little risk of getting bored while waiting for the next train to arrive.

Whenever I go to Paris, Ifm determined to photograph these billboards, but I always end up failing because of insufficient light. ISO400 high-sensitivity films have come into general use recently, and it was thanks to this that I at last managed to take some successful photographs.

The Parisian Metro doesnft exactly make it easy to change trains. There are endless corridors running in all directions, and if you simply walk in accordance with the indications of destination, you find you end up exactly where you started out. Itfs all a bit like a Mobius strip, as if youfd wandered into a four-dimensional world. The circular space of the platform seems much like a section of a Mobius strip.

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