What was once the height of communication technology a century ago has quickly become a makeshift stand for discarded beverages and a post-it note for bored taggers. They seem to still thrive in the underground & subways, that is until the big telecommunication companies figure out a way to get signals down there, and that day is soon approaching I’m sure.
When I first started photographing the pay phones, I did it in a very formal, straight ahead manner. This worked for a while and kept things consistent but I eventually found it limiting and not telling the whole story. Their surroundings and situations became more a part of the visual equation and the story. They also seemed to have their own distinct personalities. The images were becoming more or less ‘portraits’.
There was a socio economic trend I was noticing too, the crappier the ‘hood’, the more there were kicking around. Democratization of the technology I guess.
Everyone has a smartphone glued to their head now, and for the most part these old pay phones remain unnoticed by vast majority of people.
Dominic Bugatto was born in Bradford, England and spent his formative years growing up in the West end of Montreal. He works primarily as an illustrator and designer. Some of his clients have included: The New York Times, Wall St Journal, Vanity Fair & Details & The Village Voice. He photographs both in the digital format and with vintage film cameras.