Rita Nannini: First Stop Last Stop
“This book explores the physical and metaphorical connections I discovered at each terminal point on every New York City subway line, from the 1 to the Z. Like the city itself, the lines are both historic and ever evolving. This is my ode to our times.” —Rita Nannini
If you live in New York City, dealing with the subway is part of life. I spent ten years on the C train, traveling from Harlem to Soho on a daily basis. Depending on my destination, I traversed a wide maze of subway lines over the years. But that was only a drop in the bucket compared to the journey Rita Nannini has taken over the last ten years, traveling 665 miles of New York City subway track and taking 8,000 photographs of the first stop and last stop of every single subway line in all five boroughs of New York City. Nannini realized that what would be the beginning of one line for one rider, would be the end stop for another. She considered these disparate perspectives in point of view and symbolic representations of the subway stops as she composed her images.
Nannini has just launched a new book published by Workshop Arts, designed by Caleb Cain Marcus through his design company, Luminosity Lab,titled First Stop, Last Stop. The book is accompanied by an essay by Virginia Hines.
First Stop. Last Stop
I love riding the New York City subway but I didn’t always feel that way. When I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the1980s, I limited myself to traveling on the #1 train because the subway then was so dangerous. Decades later, I heard about the game “End of the Line” in which teens would board any train and stay on to its end point. I was immediately intrigued, imagining all the visual possibilities at the terminal stops. In 2013, I began photographing them and soon realized that the last stop for some is the first stop for others. That altered my perspective and this project.
I was not quite sure what I would discover as I traveled all 660 miles of subway tracks. Nearly 8,000 photographs and ten years later, I am still amazed at where the subway can take me. Some stops boast special attractions or landmarks just beyond the turnstile, while other stations themselves are the attraction. I was especially drawn to the way the subway connects the disparate, lively ethnic communities which define this vast metropolis. People exhibit immense pride in their neighborhoods, their first stop on a journey to all that New York City has to offer.
This book explores the physical and metaphorical connections I discovered at each terminal point on every New York City subway line, from the #1 to the Z. Like the city itself, the lines are both historic and ever evolving. This is my ode to our times.
Rita Nannini is a conceptual documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work explores different ways of viewing: motherhood in the first person, the micro landscape of the suburban backyard and the landscape as a composite of images.
She has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions at the New Jersey State Museum, the Griffin Museum, Los Angeles Center for Photography, Photoville, Princeton University, Beit Hatfutsot, Israel and Konica Minolta Plaza, Tokyo. Her work has appeared in major international publications: The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsweek, Die Presse (Austria) L’Obs (France), Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan), Welt Am Sonntag (Germany) and The Jerusalem Post (Israel).
Rita is a 2021 recipient of the New York City Artists Corps Grant for her work First Stop Last Stop, a photo documentation of all the terminal stops of the New York City Subway. Her first photobook on this work was recently released in April 2023.
Rita has also received grants for photography from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Luminosity Lab, is the Brooklyn design practice of Caleb Cain Marcus. We are engaged in ongoing partnerships with artists, curators, publishers, and institutions. We collaborate with thinkers and creators to broadcast their passions.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
Jamey Stillings: AtacamaNovember 25th, 2023
Miho Kajioka – so it goes, so it goes, so it goesNovember 18th, 2023
Michael Kenna: Collecting Light, Photographs 1973-2023November 11th, 2023
Publisher’s Spotlight: Kult BooksNovember 10th, 2023
Michael Honegger: The Need-to-KnowNovember 9th, 2023