Riding the subway never looked so good.
While several subway stations are dark and littered with trash, that's not the case in various stops throughout Russia. Photographer David Burdeny ventured to stations in Moscow and St. Petersburg to document the majestic beauty underground — and the results are stunning.
“I had come across a couple of stations by accident,” Burdeny told TODAY Home. “I was doing a series on Italian theaters and I came across a few of the metro stations.” And just like that, he found his next subject.
Photographing empty subway stations is as difficult as it sounds. One of the biggest problems Burdeny had with the project was the price to rent out the spaces.
The prices were intended for film crews with big budgets. In order to get the access he needed at a cheaper cost, he agreed to only be in each station for one hour after they closed.
“Even though it was vacant, we set up our camera and then we had to sometimes ask the [subway] crew to hide behind a column for a minute,” explained Burdeny. “There are a few stations where I wish I could go back and do more.”
On his website, Burdeny describes the rich history behind the architecture of the stations.
“The stations range in design, from palatial baroque marble and granite structures to modern iron and glass, revealing the aesthetic ideals, hopes and failures of communist Russia,” explains Burdeny.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the stations is that they are all capable of being used as nuclear fallout shelters. Because of this, Burdeny was instructed not to photograph certain areas as it could compromise their safety.
Even having seen photographs before visiting, Burdeny says he wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the stations themselves.
“I had seen photographs,” said Burdeny. “But I wasn't prepared for the grandeur of it."
Neither were we!