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Photographer Stephen Mallon documents man and the machine

If you can’t tell what’s stacked on top of the barge in the photo above that’s okay; You’ve probably never seen, let alone thought about, subway cars being piled up and transported by water, and neither had I until I saw photographer Stephen Mallon’s incredible series, “Next Stop Atlantic,” that documents NYC subway cars as they’re taken offshore and dumped in the ocean to act as barrier reefs. Not only was I unaware that we needed a barrier reef off the coast of New York, but I was also unaware that you could build one simply by chucking old subway cars into the sea. I’m still not convinced that this is cool with the EPA.

Mallon has a long history with men and machines, documenting the infamous crash landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009 and the rescue workers who helped passengers off the plane and then hoisted it out of the water. He also has a series of portraits of a various laborers, men who work at city dumps or in factories or with lumber in the woods. It’s all macho, but Mallon has that strong vs. sensitive thing going for him too. His latest project documents the replacement, as opposed to the rebuilding, of NYC’s Willis Avenue Bridge, first erected in 1901. He shot over 30,000 stills as workers hauled the new bridge from upstate NY “and installed it like an appliance.” The Wall Street Journal was also onsite to film the project. You can watch the video on Mallon’s site.