Chicago’s CTA “L” Passenger Trains – Large Photography Series

January 2, 2013 Travis Dewitz


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I love visiting Chicago just to see the Chicago Transit Authority’s “L” passenger trains. There is so much history in that transit system which you can actually touch and ride in. All of the different cultures of Chicago come together at the CTA “L” passenger stations to wait for the next train, which normally shows up within minutes. Taking the Red Line down underground is like an amusement part ride as it quickly picks up speed and drops below the surface of the city. The light from outside fades quickly as dim fluorescent lights cast a greenish glow outside the cars and in. As the cars violently shake back and forth the smell of arcing electricity and hot brakes start to fill the cars as they come to a quick stop at the next station. People rush on and off the cars and get back to their lives as I just sit back and take it all in. Before you know it we’re on the move again as the train quickly accelerate out of the underground subway station back into a dark tube. At the next station I will get off and board the next train heading back towards the loop downtown. Once back in the loop above ground, the cars gently click and rock as the towering buildings jut straight up over me. Once you are off at an elevated station, you feel as if you are greatly separated from the noise and hustle of the city streets below as buses and taxis speed beneath you. The people and how they are dressed at the stations and on the trains change like the seasons, as the hours go by from morning to night. It is an experience I have enjoyed many times and hopefully many more. I hope you enjoy my images of Chicago’s CTA “L”.

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Travis Dewitz Powerlines Portrait Thumb PhotographThrough the creative lens of Travis Dewitz; he demonstrates time and time again how much splendor can be extracted from the interplay of the industrial world around us. In the most unusual and unexpected places Dewitz showcases images that embody the forgotten beauty of railways, factory floors, the rolling smoke of steel mills, and the cities that are built around them. He brings a certain magic as he invokes the very souls of these once-glorious industrial areas; his captures overflow with inspirational energy. Click here to view his personal series.

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Travis Dewitz

I. Love. Photography. I love it. It lightens my heart, fills my soul, and allows me to capture life the way that I see it. I constantly yearn to show life in a way that hasn’t been seen before, to bring images to people in a fresh and innovative way. My favorite focus in photography, my specialty I guess you would say, is Railroad Photography & Art. Something about the rumbling of these great, big, beautiful machines. The way they shake the earth beneath you as they rumble by, how they invade your chest and you can feel the rumble inside you. The plumes of heat on a hot day represented in a heat wave. Snaking through a western valley, void of trees or any other distracting element. Just the train, by itself, in it’s own inexplicable beauty and power. From the time I was a child, they have captured my imagination. I’ve recently gotten into portraiture a bit, and I want to bring some of my experiences with trains to that arena. To capture the power of a person, the sadness, loneliness, omniscience, pride, love, & carefree spirit in a way that hasn’t been done before. I want people to look at themselves in a photograph I have taken, and see a side of themselves that they think no one else has ever seen. Dewitz Photography is all about capturing a moment in a way that has never been seen before, capturing a beauty that some never knew was even there.

Comments (15)

  1. Michael Bess

    Thanks for sharing Travis, really enjoy your photos. Was in Chicago 2 times and enjoyed the time spent.

  2. Sharon Wylee Scheel

    Yep, looks like Obama. The costumes were fun, I love a good costume. Went a little dizzy looking up at buildings. Personal fav: Ashland 63.

  3. Lots of great photos in here. I found it difficult to look through all of them and enjoy them in this format, but you got some good stuff for sure. Great idea for a project!

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