British-born, New York-based designer and art director Craig Ward has created the “Subvisual Subway” project, a series of portraits depicting New York City’s microscopic residents.
To create his unconventional series, in the summer of 2015, Craig rode the trains of each of New York City’s twenty-two subway lines to collect bacterial samples from hand rails, seats and other high traffic surfaces.
Craig explains: ‘The samples were taken using sterilized sponges that had been pre-cut into the letter or number of the subway line from which the sample was to be taken – A, C, 1, 6 etc etc. The swabs were then pressed into pre-poured agar plates – their circular shape echoing the graphic language of the subway – and incubated for up to a week in his Brooklyn workshop, and photographed at various stages of development before being safely neutralized and disposed of.’
‘The resulting images are a portrait of the complex microcosm that each of us contribute to and are a part of, and serve as an excellent visual analogy for diversity of the city at large. They hopefully also serve as a reminder that in a place that can make you feel extremely small, there are countless billions of smaller inhabitants.’