Can you imagine if you were on the last drop? You get on the train expecting to get out at Atlantic Station and end up hitting the Atlantic Ocean instead. Seeing these massive mechanisms being tossed into the ocean like a toy in the bathtub is a ping in my heart. I have always been attached to these machines, their surreal beauty integrated into their functional engineering At first I was stunned the moments of violent recycling, watching the water quickly adapt to its new under water houses. After being pushed and stacked like a sardine in these subways cars o ver the past decade, it is nice to see the sardine actually getting one of these as its new steel condo. These unbelievable photographs were captured over the pa st three years from Delaware to South Carolina. Since the 1600’s man has artificially created reefs. The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s recycling program has been involved for the past decade, retiring over 2500 subways cars to the ocean to help rebuild under water reefs along the eastern seabed. These are my images, secon ds before these mass transit vessels join histor y in building homes for life under the sea.


Stephen Mallon is a photographer and filmmaker who specialises in the industrial-scale creations of mankind at unusual moments of their life cycles.

Mallon’s work blurs the line between documentary and fine art, revealing the industrial landscape to be unnatural, desolate and functional yet simultaneously also human, surprising and inspiring. It has been featured in publications and by broadcasters including The New York Times, National Geographic, NBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Mail, MSNBC, The Atlantic, GQ, CBS , the London Times and Vanity Fair . Mallon has exhibited in cities including Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis and New York, as well is in England and Italy.

In 2009, Mallon produced Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549 , a series of photographs recorded the salvaging of the passenger aircraft which captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed on the Hudson River. In 2010, his solo exhibition Next Stop Atlantic documented the disposal of New York subway trains at sea to form artificial coral reefs. He was commissioned by the New York Times Magazine to shoot the film Behind The Curtain , a time lapse movie documenting two days behind the scenes of the Metropolitan Opera in 2013, and his first book, Anthology , will be published by Glitterati in 2018.

As David Schonauer wrote in Pro Photo Daily , “Mallon’s word harkens back to the heroic industrial landscapes of Margaret Bourke-White and Charles Sheeler, who glorified American steel and found art in its industrial muscle and smoke during the Great Depression.” He has also been compared to photographers including Edward Burtynsky, Thomas Struth and Chris Jordan.

Mallon lives in New York with his wife and daughter, where he has been a board member of the New York chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers since 2002 and served as president from 2006 to 2009.

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