Commuters

When I was a kid I used to take pictures with my eyes. I would see a moving car coming fast, and turning my head, I would follow the car direction and blink. For a few seconds, the frozen image of the driver would be retained in my brain. I took these portraits in this same way, this time using my camera.

These series are taken on the rail line that links the north and east London suburbs to the financial heart of the city. The commuters are photographed early morning, presumably on their way to work. They are photographed from a train platform as the train passes through.

I find the overground train the most enjoyable of the means of commuting. Unlike the underground, the windows offer a view to the city and space for reflecting, thinking and dreaming. Photographing from outside the window as the train passes by, the commuters are unable to anticipate my presence or react when I take the picture, allowing me to capture their natural state of introspection and distant thought. To me, such moments are full of beauty and romanticism, and also melancholy. I like to think that these anonymous commuters are unconsciously reacting against the mechanic, banal and routine act of commuting by going beyond it.

The freezing quality of photography becomes extra relevant in the capture of these instances. Somehow, the camera works exactly as my eye does: I am on the platform and the train starts moving, crushing its metal, slowly accelerating. There is someone by the window. I follow with my eyes and then I ‘blink’ and the image of that person is frozen, this time inside my camera.

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