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‘Next Stop Atlantic’ Ocean Recycling: Q&A with Photographer Stephen Mallon

Stephen Mallon

When photographer Stephen Mallon saw subway cars being pushed off a barge in 2007, inspiration struck just in time to coincide with his project on recycling in America.

The beauty of nature is that regardless of gender, age, or occupation, one image can strike a chord with a human being and remain in their psyche for life. Stephen Mallon‘s images do just that. We had the privilege to contact Mallon for comment on his collection.

Recently, the photographs from his solo exhibit, “Next Stop Atlantic,” released in 2010, have circulated the web scene and detail what happens to unused subway cars after the city of New York dumped them into the ocean.

The Atlantic intensely recycled these cars, crafting them into homes for marine life to flourish, as coral grows on each surface of the car and fish swim freely in between the windows and bolted seats.

Stephen Mallon
Stephen Mallon

WOS: Tell us a little about your genre of photography; what’s the term you use to describe it? Why were you attracted to concrete and steel when a traditional photographer would tend toward the all-natural side of things?

Stephen Mallon: My focus is on the person-made and altered landscape of the 21st century.  I have been shooting concrete, steel, and other industrial footprints for commission and personal work my entire career. It has always gotten back to the fact that I am a kid just wanting to play in a sandbox with my bulldozer and a pile of dirt.

WOS: Where did you first find out about the process of dumping subway cars into the Atlantic? Were you commissioned to do “Next Stop Atlantic” or was it a project of your own? Where has it been seen publicly up till now?

SM: I originally found out about the project in a story in the NY Times.  I had just begun my project on the recycling industry of America and this was a perfect fit. It’s a personal project, funded by print sales and other commissions, and it has been exhibited in New York, Miami, St. Louis, LA, Boston, and Rome.

Stephen Mallon
Stephen Mallon
Stephen Mallon

WOS: What notable recognition or awards did “Next Stop Atlantic” receive?

SM: It’s been recognized in the Communication Arts photo annual, Critical Mass top 50, and it received a “Lucie” award.

WOS:  What can people expect out of you next?

SM: My book, published by Gliterati, is coming in 2017!

WOS: Anything else you’d like to add?

SM: I am on the hunt for one to two more projects to include in the book. If anyone has a lead on a project, let me know!

Stephen Mallon’s work from PRELUDE will be featured in the exhibition “On & On” at Mark Miller Gallery from Nov. 8th until Dec. 6th.

In the meantime, you can follow Mallon’s work on Instagram here, and peruse his personal website here to learn more about his upcoming events.

All Images courtesy of Stephen Mallon and Front Room Gallery

NEXT: Predation in the Life Cycle: Big Fish vs. Little Fish [VIDEO]

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‘Next Stop Atlantic’ Ocean Recycling: Q&A with Photographer Stephen Mallon