Willy Spiller: Hell on Wheels. New York Subway 1977-1984 is the title of an exhibition at Galerie Bildhalle in Zurich on the occasion of the publication of the book of the same name. It shows a selection of photographs the Swiss photographer Willy Spiller took of the people in the New York subway.
“In May of 1977, a 30-year-old Swiss photographer named Willy Spiller, newly arrived in New York City and recover-ing from the one-two punch of jetlag and a night in the notorious Chelsea Hotel, descended the steps of the city’s subway for the first time. What he saw was terrifying. And electrifying. And, truth be told, addicting.
Beginning that week and continuing for eight years, Willy Spiller brought his camera on the subway, and he shot. He shot cops and robbers. He shot the fashionable and the indigent, commuters and kids. He shot the unpredictable dance of strangers interacting in tin-can train cars. He shot the beginnings of stories whose ends he left to our imaginations. Film was expensive so he chose his moments carefully; still, over the years, he amassed some 2,000 frames.”
(Bill Shapiro, former editor-in-chief of LIFE magazine)
Willy Spiller: Hell on Wheels. New York Subway 1977-1984 / Bildhalle Zurich. Zurich (Switzerland), May 4, 2023.
Artist Talk at Bildhalle Gallery Zurich. Willy Spiller in conversation with Mirjam Cavegn (Founder/Owner Galerie Bildhalle).
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