Digging documents the construction of an underground tunnel in the heart of Boston. The project, which took nearly a decade to complete, was to revolutionise the city centre, removing a congested, elevated expressway to route the traffic under the city. Hintlian began photographing the site in 1997, after he noticed the early signs of the “big dig” on Boston’s streets.
This book is a result of his tenacity and desire to reach the heart of the construction. As time passed the supervisors and workers got used to his presence and Hintlian was able to gain the unrestricted access he needed to portray the workers and the gruelling shifts that they endured every day under the city streets.
The black and white pictures are often abstract with intriguing juxtapositions. An overhead view of “Under Dock Square”, showing a minuscule man in a sea of mud, is paired with another image of a worker under a beam. Elsewhere, images of workers bundled up against the winter snow contrast with playful shadows cast in the summer heat. The book is in no way chronological, with the majority of pictures taken in 2000 and later. Overall, Digging is an enjoyable and striking insight into an unseen world beneath a city for which the author obviously feels great affection.