This Week’s Photo – Churchgate Station – Sebastião Salgado

This week’s photo of Churchgate Station in Mumbai, India was taken by the one and only Sebastião Salgado. In many ways, this image parallels last week’s photo taken by David duChemin. I won’t be surprised if David was inspired by this particular photo when taking his photos.

I think it is the crowd – or perhaps the over-crowdedness that is the subject of the image. The theme of over-crowdedness is exaggerated by the fact that the image was taken from a higher perspective relative to the crowd – resulting in lot more of the crowd visible in the image, adding to the feel and mood of being crowded.

Like last week’s photo, leading lines in this photo play a major compositional role and add depth and perspective to the image. The contrast between the static trains and the moving crowd, shown by a blur add conflict and visual contrast to the image.

Leading llines draw the eye into the image and add to the depth.

Leading llines draw the eye into the image and add to the depth.

This image brilliantly captures the mood of a typical Indian railway station. Having been to a few of the stations myself, I instantly resonate with this image. If someone asked me what my experience has been like travelling on Indian railway network, I’d hand them this image.

There have been few modern takes on this image, most notably by Randy Olsen as seen below and on the National Geographic feature about the image.

Modern take on an old classic by Randy Olsen

Modern take on an old classic by Randy Olsen

As a side note, Churchgate Station as seen in this image also features strongly in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. Danny Boyle, who himself is a Salgado fan admitted having been inspired by the photo when shooting sequences in Slumdog Millionaire –

Originally I wanted it to look like the Sebastian Salgado photograph of Church Gate station – when everybody is coming off the trains and he freezes it but with a blur.


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