I lived and worked in London for two years, and used the
subway (the “underground”) every day, along with thousands
of other, “anonymous” commuters. It never ceased to amaze
me that despite the crowds that dashed to and from the
stations during rush hour, the only sounds you could hear
were the coming and going of the trains, the indecipherable
operator announcements and the air conditioning system.
Except for the sound of rushing footsteps you rarely heard
the people. There was no talking. There was no laughing.
Standing on the platform in between trains you could hear
the rustling of newspapers as people satisfied their
addiction to news of others much worse off than themselves.
Crowded together on the escalators, in the tunnels, on the
platforms and on the trains there was very little personal
space. What space existed was highly prized. After a while
at certain times of the day I began to recognize familiar
faces, standing in precisely the same spot they had stood
the previous day, and the day before that, etc. The veil of
anonymity was slowly being lifted and it was unsettling.
When I realized that I too was slowly taking up residence
in my own favorite spots and was therefore also in danger
of loosing my anonymity I decided that it was time to
Although London is now a distant memory the old feelings
come flooding back whenever I travel the subway systems in
DC and New York for my work. I wanted to create images that
not only told the story of my daily commute on the subway,
but also captured the anonymity of people. Being there, and
yet not being there.