For most of the 20th century, the 16th Street train station in Oakland, Calif., was a bustling travel hub for the Bay Area. Today the structure has fallen prey to vandals and neglect, a state of affairs that a new film by Academy of Art University School of Photography grad Matt Beardsley means to address.
Beardsley, who received his MFA in 2010, was commissioned to create the short film below by the nonprofit group that’s caring for the station and exploring how restore and utilize it. In the film, a number of volunteers and others involved in the effort speak about their regard for the local landmark and discuss its potential value to the community—which includes transforming it into the centerpiece of a new residential development.
Beardsley notes that in addition to being the historic end of the transcontinental railroad, the 16th Street station was home to the country’s first black labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Asked about his motivations in selecting subjects, he said, “I am always on the lookout for new collaborations, especially when humanitarian and social justice issues are being addressed. My ultimate goal…is to grow as an artist and humanitarian with every new project.”