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This Instagram artist is transforming how Montreal sees its subway

The most beautiful view of Montreal is from... the Metro? Chris Forsyth's #mtlmetroproject captures the colour and beauty of the city's underground architecture, and it's inspired a community on Instagram.

Follow photographer Chris Forsyth's #mtlmetroproject and discover how colourful life can be in the underground

Jean-Talon. One of Chris Forsyth's favourite photos from his Montreal Metro Project. (Instagram/Chris Forsyth)

The morning commute might give you the blues. But if you know where to look, it can give you the blues...

...the purples...

...and the reds.

Take it from Chris M. Forsyth, who's on Instagram at @chrismforsyth. The Dawson College student uses the subway to make it to class every day. And however your transit system stacks up to Montreal's, trudging underground on the daily can be an assault on your patience as well as your senses. The din of the trains! The stench of the passengers! The — holy crap, is that guy in the seat next to me clipping his toenails?!

But looking at one of Forsyth's photos, all the breakfast-breath and stress melts away. 

Forsyth began using the #mtlmetroproject hashtag last year while sharing photos of Montreal's subway system on Instagram. The images, which were initially captured as part of a class assignment, document the various stations of the city's transit system. About half of the city's 68 stations have been represented so far. "The project doesn't have a clearly defined end point," he told CBC Arts by e-mail. "I'll keep photographing the metros until I run out of inspiration, and at the moment I don't see it slowing down. Eventually I'd like to begin #metroproject and take photos of metros around the world."

As for where it all began, Forsyth recently shared his story with CBC Montreal's Homerun. "Just commuting daily to school I began to notice how certain stations, how beautiful they are," Forsyth said. "And I began to recognize their beauty very intimately just seeing them daily."

Laurier, with its "beautiful red wall" is among his favourite locations.

As is the brutalist De La Savane.

And by publishing the photos on Instagram, Forsyth has invited other local commuters become part of the story, too — even if it wasn't intentional. Within weeks of his first post, Forsyth says he began to notice others sharing their own subway views. "I originally began the hashtag (#mtlmetroproject) to simply keep all my metro photos organized in one place," he explains. "I never expected to create such a great little community of metro photo enthusiasts." They're a small but dedicated group of subway-goers who, like him, don't just get the commuting blues...

...but also the black-and-whites...

...greens...

...yellows...

...oranges...

...browns...

...purples...

...reds...

...and every colour you can think of.

In addition to Instagram, you can follow the progress of Forsyth's metro project on Facebook and his website, chrismforsyth.com.

Social media can be so much more than selfies and viral videos — it's increasingly becoming a scratch pad for emerging artists and other creative minds to show off their latest work. Artstagram curates the best visual talent on Instagram, helping bring a little more art into your daily feed.​

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