Ant Smith

269 The Project


It took 2 years to complete Project 269 - one photograph from every station on the London Underground network.

The collections in this gallery let you browse all of the images line-by-line; or here on this page you can find out more about the whole project.

You can buy the images as posters, or prints, or cards, or tote-bags or whatever really - and doing so would be an enormous help; or if you just want to support my work, there's always the Donate button at the bottom of every page!

From The Exhibition Brochure

Mirror on spiral stairway in Borough tube station

My very earliest shot from Project 269, taken before I even knew I was doing the project. It features my very own feet which I did consider taking out in post. Then I thought "I want this picture to tell a story" and those feet add to the narrative, they beg the question "Who's there and where are they going". The whole project explores this city's sense of story.

I've always considered photography to be my reason for seeing. My reason to travel a little further, to linger a little longer. To seek out and to soak up the alien vistas and acute details hidden by our daily lives' determination not so much to travel, but rather to arrive. So I hope this collection can be your reason for seeing too. Your opportunity to experience at a glance, in a moment, 150 years and 500 miles of this city's endeavour.

And I hope you will be inspired to help turn this collection into a true cultural moment worthy of archive. As the images take you to the far reaches of the network you've never seen, or cause you for once to linger in familiar places. Whether they draw for you new imaginations or spirit up long lost relations, I'd like to add your story to this story of London.

Thank you for coming today, and I hope you enjoy walking the lines.

Ant Smith, 2015

Tube Stories

Here's a selection of the tube stories people sent me:

Season Ticket - John Partington

My termly season ticket said ‘South Harrow to Ealing Broadway’ and I reckoned that made it a go anywhere freedom ticket, provided I ended up somewhere near Harrow or Ealing. The terms and conditions might say ‘by any convenient route’ … and why would that be restricted to the Piccadilly line and the District line? Anyway rushing through the barriers, finger over the writing, didn’t leave time for challenges from the guards, this being long before electronic ticketing.

“Trains were late” “Bus was slow” just so long as I was home in time for tea.

So on hot summer days the Piccadilly line from school would take me past South Harrow to Ruislip for the Lido. Or a memory lapse would find me at Ealing Broadway stepping onto the Central line instead of the District – oops! – and here I am at Regent’s Park peering at the zoo (yes – via the Bakerloo – compounding the original error).

One day the exact same error led me to Bank and the Trav-O-Lator to Monument to ascend the 311 steps. Monument - heart of the Great Fire of London, not just zoology but history too! Though the extreme lateness of my return home that day did result in some close questioning, which ended inconclusively - they knew I was lying but they got bored before they found out what I’d been up to. Well, have you ever tried to get from Bank to South Harrow?

Other days, when the sole ambition was to find a park for an illicit smoke, one of that curious quartet of District line stations between Acton Town and Hammersmith was just perfect.

And with a little more intent and time in hand the same season ticket took me along the Amersham branch of the Met line to enjoy the genteel splendour of Moor Park with a girlfriend – truant that time but well worth it.

“London Underground – supporting London’s children in the acquisition of life experiences”. Thank you London Underground

Barking - Christine Adams

Today I offered an upset woman some cheese on the platform of Barking station.

Stratford - Jason James

This is my favourite station…It's my route to Essex. I got a train to Liverpool St. when I first arrived with my BMX, got a flat tyre when I was jumping the steps in Trafalgar Sq. and a taxi driver gave me a free lift all the way to my dad's front door in Stratford, I only wanted directions but he was a true man and could see I didn't want him to go beyond his means to help me, just a hint to which way my nose should go, but he did go out of his way for me. And from that day I've always loved London. And Taxis.

Holland Park - Carl Chamberlain

The first proper posh place I visited deliberately: to impress girlfriend. It worked.

King's Cross St. Pancras - Jo Bell

Shortly after I lost my father…I saw a young man – 19ish, a student perhaps - looking for someone, and caught sight of an older man also looking for someone. I saw, before the younger man did, the father catching sight of his son. His face lit up. The son saw him, and also lit up. They stepped into each other's arms and gave each other a huge, well-meant and sincere hug. They were delighted to see each other. I was very conscious at that moment that I would never have that experience again with my own father - and felt great loss, but also great pleasure for these two people, so glad to have each other and so vividly aware of their good fortune in knowing it. Good luck to them.

Old Street - Ernie Burns

The underpass at Old street is called St Agnes Well. The guy there's name is Tim. He is one of the regulars of Old Street. He used to stay in the stairwell leading up to the centre of the roundabout but they've closed it off.

[If you go home via Old Street please give Tim a quid or so]

Contributing

Project 269 is a story of this city, of its history, of its inhabitants, of you. In this programme you will read some of them, real life stories and imagined narratives. As I take the project forward I will write more, and I will collect more. Why not contribute your story, your connection to this amazing network?

E-mail me@antsmith.net

Acknowledgements

With a project of this size and duration it is inevitable that I will forget to thank someone who made a very real contribution; I am sorry, I am sorry – and if you read this and feel aggrieved please do bend my ear. It's pretty likely that I'll do something nice to try and make up for it…

That said this body of work begins with Christine. My wife, my equal, my muse and my love. Where shall we go next?

Secondly, just making the map was to be an enormous effort and although these folk have certainly helped me bear up and drive through, the greatest thanks goes to them for making this installation possible: Calm Carl, Sarah-Jane, Dan Hunt, Alice White and Michael Baines.

And because we live in a world of too little money, too little public funding and too little value given to creative endeavour I do want to convert the pounds sterling given to me by the following people in to my greatest heartfelt thanks:

Mal Knott, Andy Fiver, Anthony Fairweather, Paul Sweetland, Alcuin Hacker, Moses Wejuli, Jason James, Dan Hunt, James Dillinger Poppleton, Trevor Window, Joan Hall, Gerry Newnham, Sandy Ambo (PS Artiste), Calm Carl, Kate Shuttlebrace, Sarah-Jane Miller, Hillary Bennet, Rich Idle, Daisy Morrison, Alice White, Michael Clift, Paul Bradley, Cath McGuiness, Cathy Flower, Chris Harrod, Dave Hornigold, Jane Taylor, Liz Jackson, Louise Hall, Miele Higginbotham, Mary Lou Springstead, Dennis Just Dennis, Len Hovis, Jonathon Shardlow, Lynn Sarah Davy, and those who gave both selflessly and anonymously.

And for their encouragement and support along the way: Anna Cassar, Frances Pinney, Nicky Esmerelda Sullivan, Patricia Clark, Beadyman, Sebastian Crankshaw, Lee Button, Anabela Fern, Susanna Wallis, and once again all of those kind hearted friends who I just know I've forgotten and run out of space to list… thank you one and all x

And with a special thanks to the people of Art4Space for their willingness to experiment and support a fellow artist.


And here is some of the press coverage we had on telly and such:

Londonist See The Work Of Ant Smith

269 The Project