Images of the World's Most Uncomfortable Commute

You've probably heard of the improbable lengths to which Tokyo's subway goes to pack in riders. But you likely haven't seen images of "unwilling subjects trapped in the train window" like those taken by photographer Michael Wolf.
November 20, 2012, 6am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Alyssa Coppelman shares a number of images from photographer Michael Wolf’s new book Tokyo Compression, the latest volume in a series exploring how people move within metropolises. Wolf's images of unwitting passengers were taken from the outside of packed subway cars, liberating the lens to provide perspective on the passengers' confinement. "Some are almost goofy; others reflect the common city-dweller thread of exhaustion, discomfort, and annoyance, and for an overall effect of capturing the sweaty and uncomfortable reality of the daily grind of city life," says Coppelman.

"By concentrating on the details of each face and each subway window, Wolf enables the viewer to connect immediately with the emotion, regardless of whether the viewer has ever experienced such overcrowding. Some commuters squeeze their eyes shut, others meet the gaze of the lens directly, which is perhaps more disconcerting: They are unwilling subjects trapped in the train window. Seeing face after face crammed into this same environment, the actual location of the people becomes almost irrelevant and viewing them becomes almost ghostly."

 

h/t to Daniel Lippman

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Published on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 in Slate
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