Subways Portraits by Walker Evans

I thoroughly enjoy Evans’ approach to photography.  I think it was genius of him to take pictures of a certain group of people during a certain time: in trains.  He captured candid photos of commuters during their ride to work or wherever they were going.  Obviously this was when the subway system first came to be and so it was all very new to everyone.  Riding in a train with strangers for a certain length of time can be unsettling to some people and Evans captured that in many of his photos.  It’s very interesting to see the similarities in the faces of today’s commuters.  Today, we don’t see many people reading the newspaper because technology has advanced so much; we now have iPods, iPads and tablets to keep us entertained during our subway ride.  Still, we can find similarities in the facial expressions of today’s commuters.  Some people look very cranky, tired, sad, others look happy, energized and ready for the day.  We also find beggars that will play an instrument or just ask for money.  We may also encounter the occasional homeless person for whom the subways act as a place of shelter for them.  Moreover, it is very intriguing to see the changes as well as the similarities.  Such as fashion trends and the like.

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