The Unexpected Art of the MTA’s In-House Photographer

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Photo: MTA Arts & Design/Patrick J. Cashin

Patrick Cashin is always on the lookout — for moving trains, for boring machines, for blasting debris. It wasn’t necessarily part of the job description when he started, 15 years ago, taking pictures for the MTA. But in 2008, he was sent on assignment to the new (now closed again, thanks to Hurricane Sandy) South Ferry terminal. He descended down into the cool underground of lower Manhattan as the construction crews worked around him. He snapped a few photos. When one of the engineers saw them, he told Cashin, “We need to get you down at the other sites.”

The sandhogs are used to him by now. Since that first excursion, Cashin has had the one-of-a-kind job of photographing the MTA’s largest, and many below ground, projects.

Cashin doesn’t know so much about the fine-art assessment, though. “I go down there to document,” he says. “I’m happy that everyone thinks that, but that’s not the reason I’m sent down there.”

Click on the slideshow to see a selection of Cashin’s photos, or check out the MTA’s pretty amazing Flickr account.