Every day, since October of last year, Michael Takasaki has been photographing a door.
About a year ago, the TTC installed an automatic door at the Pleasant Boulevard entrance of St. Clair station. Progress stalled, however, and, for months, the doors were functionless, existing solely as decorative glass with masking-taped X’s on them. Around the same time, Takasaki bought a camera and decided that he wanted to do “one of those picture-a-day-for-a-year projects,” and thought that the doors, which were “driving [him] nuts,” would make a good subject. “I’m not sure,” Takasaki told us, “whether it’s my first foray into a particular kind of activism (profoundly passive-aggressive activism, to be fair) or the first sign I’m fast becoming a cranky old man.” Either way, seven months later, his Flickr set of the project is now now two-hundred-and-two photos (and some hand-drawn sketches) strong.
The project, Takasaki says, was born in part out of the desire to extensively explore one subject—now, he says, he has “gotten to know how to shoot that fence, pavement, and yellow paint on the curb really, really, really well”—but also out of frustration for the TTC’s dysfunctionality, “from the love/hate relationship so many of us have with the TTC and how frustrating the way the[y] operate can be. Walking around St. Clair station,” Takasaki says, he “was noticing how ramshackle everything was looking, even for a construction project. There were all these handwritten signs sloppily taped up on the walls, no notices advising how long the work would take, etc. And it seemed kind of symptomatic of the disregard, real or perceived, that…people feel the TTC expresses towards them. ”
Fortunately, there has been some progress, however minimal. When, in February, the TTC locked one of the two remaining functioning doors at the entrance for an unexplained reason, Takasaki decided he had had enough and sent a letter to Adam Giambrone. “At the end of April,” Takasaki says, “I got a letter from some PR person telling me they were aiming to have it back in service by early June, but were going to try to have it done sooner. It remains unchanged as of today. I’m pretty sure “early June” means “late July.””
Until then, though, we hope that Takasaki keeps on going until the doors are fixed. While he admits that “this is kind of the slowest-moving, quixotic protest I could ever conceive of” and that “when anyone notices my photos it’s both gratifying and slightly embarrassing,” it’s catching on: another photographer, Arieh Singer, already has a photoset of his own for a similar set of doors at Eglinton West station, and the TTC is no stranger to fanaticism, whether it’s photographing all of the subway stations (hey! I did that!), lending a hand in redesigning their website from the ground up (hey! we did that!), or documenting every single detail of every single station’s layout (hey! Sean did that!). For the sake of his sanity, let’s hope that Takasaki won’t have to keep taking photos of a door much longer.
All photos from Michael Takasaki’s Flickr set.