Erin Flynn arrived at the Metro Red Line North Hollywood and Universal City sites when they looked like abandoned ruins--half-built mazes of endless dark tunnels and dirt roads.
Her mission: to chronicle the creation of the new subway stations.
"It was great--hard work, but great," Flynn said. "This is the kind of job any photographer lives for, shooting not only the sites, but the people in them."
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority hired Flynn, 37, about a year ago to photograph its crews working in the tunnels, electrical rooms, fan rooms and "any place I could get into," Flynn said. "I was the only girl in the room, but I soon became one of the boys."
She spent about four months hanging out with construction workers and photographing their every move, capturing some 1,200 images.
Some are on display at the MTA headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Flynn graduated from the College of Santa Fe, N.M., about 10 years ago with a degree in photography. Since then, she has always been drawn to "journalistic" photos, she said. In the early '90s, she spent more than a year photographing the construction of the Union Station subway stop. She now works with renowned shooter Herb Ritts.
She said she will never forget the image of one worker at the North Hollywood station. Working inside dark tunnels, she made endless pictures of the short, 60-year-old man who carried a bucket and spatula.
Flynn followed him as he smoothed the cement, massaging the walls as if caressing baby skin. "It was perfect," she said.
How does her most recent subway assignment compare to the previous one?
"It seemed more risky, dangerous, even though I knew I was completely safe," she said. "I was inside the inside. I even took photos of them in the showers."