We all know the subway is gross, what with all those microbes and germs covering the seats and poles. It’s just a fact—which is why you wash your hands the first chance you get after your stop, right? Wait, what? You don’t do that? Ew.
But as it turns out, grossness is in the eye of the beholder, at least in the case of photographer Craig Ward, who spent the summer collecting microbial samples on all 22 subway lines before culturing them in petri dishes. He took close-up color photos of the results, which do, in a weird way, look a bit like abstract paintings. (Who knew?) All your disease-bearing faves are represented—E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus—though the photos are titled for the subway Ward found them on. He calls the series “Subvisual Subway,” and you can order prints on his website. If you do get one, may we suggest that you hang it in your bathroom? That way you might remember to wash your damn hands.