Hi, my name is Tim Preut. I am the photographer behind the lens of BART:flipped.
My mission is to use photography to prove that people are beautiful, and the things people create are beautiful... at all 44 BART stations.
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), is a train system that runs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The trains come and go about every twenty minutes, from 5 am until about midnight. Each train car has ample room for rush hour commuters and handicapped seating.
The story behind this project is simple yet transformative. A couple years ago, I was working in Emeryville at an internet marketing company doing front-end web and promotional design. I was not a serious photographer in that I only took pictures with my iPhone and posted them on Instagram. I used BART to commute from Concord to Emeryville and was very familiar with the Concord and MacArthur stations. Usually, while waiting for my train, I would take copious amounts of photos with my iPhone, trying to capture people in their waiting poses.
At that time I was a very stand-offish and private person.
I would just plow through each BART ride without making eye contact with my fellow traveler. As the days went by, and I got used to the commutes, something changed inside me. I would find myself not only making eye contact with my fellow travelers, but also admiring each one. I would overheard conversations and realized how incredibly unique we each were. We each had whole different worlds we lived in, and yet traveled on the train together. From the cautious business man, to the mother of three using BART to get to her job. When I took a step back, and just looked at each rider, I came to a realization: we were all so beautiful and full of merit. I needed to capture that realization and share it with the world.
Why BART? Simply put: It was what I was drawn to.
The whole BART rail system is a huge benefit for commuters or people who do not want to drive. I wanted to show the craftsmanship of a BART station, in relation to the travelers standing in it and moving through it.
The challenge was showing that there is great beauty to be found— even in the everyday mundane; surrounded by tile, cement, and heavy, dirty machinery. It is not a challenge to see because it is hidden, but because we do not choose to witness it.
When I came to the revelation of peoples beauty, I also came to realize that we do not notice it. We move fast in this modern age. We bury our faces in our phones and tablets, our worries and stresses, and never look up. We don't see each other. We see our destination. We see the time that our next train will come, but not notice our fellow traveler. We search far away lands for beauty that is breathtaking, when it is sitting in front of us. It could be your friend, co-worker, brother, sister, husband, wife, dad, mom, boyfriend, or girlfriend. It is a beauty that grows and morphs over time. It is a beauty that keeps you on your toes, and surprises you. It is a beauty that will never cease.
That is what I set out to capture. This is BART:flipped.
Colors & Edits
I wanted to go a little into why I am using black and white for the daytime shots and color for the night.
It had a lot to do with the period of time that this project was being formed. In the belly of the train. Traveling to work. It felt like a bit of a movie. An old silent film where no one talked yet there was a distinct narrative going on.
Black and White
Technically I chose black and white because of its contrasted nature. There is a scene sitting before you with nothing else to offer but the nakedness of two colors. The exposed nature of us. I wanted the daytime to be that silent film. It is our daily life that we are most preoccupied with work and getting from point A to point B. It is the narrative of distraction. The silence is in the walk to and from the escalators, boarding a train, and exiting the turnstile. The film is the wider perspective that we may not see. The captured photograph, in black and white is the movie projected, while you eat your popcorn. I like the idea of having my stars of the film, each specializing in a role. The ones when captured, shine from no acting ability at all. Born naturals. That is why I choose black and white.
The nighttime is a wild symphony, to me at least. When nightfalls, I sense there is a different attitude. There is a different mindset. The light can dance now. During the day the night is in full hustle. It is busy trying to fill every corner it can with more exposure. At night, it can let it's hair down. Color is the beautiful medium of vibrance and saturation. Color can capture motion and contrast it to the canvas of black. As a train approaches, leaving the shutter open, light pours in to dance. Capturing light in color shows the little nuances of us. From ghosted turnstilers, manic ticket buyers, to approaching and departing trains. We can see the trail of light that we all possess, but we pay less attention too. Color shows that trail in all it's vibrance and saturation, shades and contrast. That is why I choose color.
Take that, HUE
I am hoping my being deliberate in color medium choice I am able to show our many sides of potential beauty. Admittedly, during the day I have wanted to capture and edit a scene in color. But, realizing art is more powerful when abided in the context it was born out of, I choose to stay focused.