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First Stop Last Stop by Rita Nannini

Posted on August 04, 2023 - By Workshop Arts
First Stop Last Stop by Rita Nannini
First Stop Last Stop by Rita Nannini

Featuring ingenious design by Luminosity Lab.

Open book has same proportions as New York City subway car.

''This book explores the physical and metaphorical connections I discovered at each terminal point on every New York City subway line, from the 1 to the Z. Like the city itself, the lines are both historic and ever evolving. This is my ode to our times.'' -Rita Nannini

Ten years. 8,000 photographs. 665 miles of New York City subway track. These statistics represent the passion and dedication of Brooklyn-based photographer Rita Nannini for her monumental achievement to photograph the first stop and last stop of every single subway line in all five boroughs of New York City.

The idea for First Stop Last Stop was conceived when Nannini heard about “End of the Line,” a game played by teenagers who randomly board any train and stay on it to its end point. Compelled by curiosity and imagining the myriad visual possibilities, in 2013 Nannini began riding and photographing the terminal stops of all of New York City’s subway lines.

Rita Nannini

Far Rockaway, Mott Av © Rita Nannini

Rita Nannini

Coney Island, Stillwell Av © Rita Nannini

Nannini’s colorful, panoramic images gathered together in First Stop Last Stop, her first monograph, reveal how the subway bonds communities to each other and the edges of the city. In her Afterword for the book, she writes about the literal and also humanistic connecting elements that the subway represents. People exhibit immense pride in their neighborhoods, their first stop on a journey to all that New York City has to offer.

The winding labyrinth of New York's subway system transports close to four million people on any given weekday. For New Yorkers, it is a vital source of connection; for tourists it is an experience they will never forget. Nannini realized that what would be the beginning of one line for one rider, would be the end stop for another. She considered these disparate perspectives in point of view and symbolic representations of the subway stops as she composed her images.

The photographs in the book are accompanied by captions which are the names of the subway stops and also tell us what trains it connects with. Select images of the neighborhoods are accompanied by color commentary about its history. These, along with a beautiful map insert, help orient the viewer and expose the vastness of the subway system. The images were taken within the subway cars, on the station platforms, out the window, and on the street in the diverse neighborhoods that mark the beginning and end of the lines. People populate most of Nannini’s photographs, aligning with the fact that the subway exists to carry people from one place to the next.

The book is designed by Caleb Cain Marcus at Luminosity Lab. The open book has the same proportions as a NYC subway car; its edge is color coded acting as a map to the photographs of the subway lines.

Rita Nannini

Church Av © Rita Nannini

Rita Nannini

SIR (Staten Island Railway) © Rita Nannini

About the Artist:
Rita Nannini is a conceptual documentary photographer who lives in Brooklyn. Her documentary work has been exhibited and published widely in the United States and internationally. “Seeking A Better Life: Jewish Poultry Farmers in New Jersey,” premiered at the New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ and traveled over seven years to 14 locations. She was awarded a New York City Artists Corp Grant in August, 2021 and has exhibited at the Griffin Museum, the Los Angeles Center for Photography, Photoville, Princeton University, Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv and Konica Minolta Plaza in Tokyo. Her work has appeared in many major international publications: The New York Times, Newsweek, L'Obs, Yomiuri Shimbun, Welt Am Sonntag and The Jerusalem Post. Nannini has also received grants for her photography from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Essayist:
Virginia Hines has had articles published in The New York Times and New Orleans Times-Picayune and has edited several books. Her photographs have been exhibited in galleries in the US and Europe and have appeared in numerous print and digital publications. Currently she writes for Street Photography Magazine.

About the Publisher:
Workshop Arts is an independent publisher that fosters dialogue around the germination of ideas through books. We publish small, thoughtfully produced editions that add to the dialogue of the medium. For more information, go here.
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