American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, G. W. Bitzer, F. A. Dobson Interior N.Y. Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street 1905

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 502 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

Two mechanical marvels of the early twentieth century, the New York City subway and the motion picture camera, converge in this four minute film, shot on May 21, 1905, seven months after the subway opened. G. W. Bitzer, the chief cameraman of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, mounted his camera on the front of one subway train that followed another on the uptown track from Union Square to Grand Central Terminal, with lighting provided by a rig mounted on a train running on the opposite track. The play of light on the support columns creates a strobe effect that edges this documentary material into abstraction.

Gallery label from 2019
35mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent)
4 min. at 18 fps
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1939
Object number
  • American Mutoscope and Biograph Company has 3 works online.
  • G. W. Bitzer has 2 works online.
  • F. A. Dobson has 2 works online.

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