Subway Portraits

Although I am not completely acquainted with the most popular approaches on photography back in Evans’ time, I feel that his technique makes the subjects look truly unaffected and real. You can see this through the effortlessness of the shots–subjects looking wary or being unfocused or even not looking at all. Others have no idea that they are being photographed, thus simply doing what they normally do, from reading the newspaper to snoozing or biting one’s lip in deep thought. I really find this fascinating (the ability to capture a subject’s inner unfiltered emotions), because I believe that capturing such moments take a certain dexterity and timing that cannot be replicated all over and over again. For some reason, it reminds me of Southworth and Hawes, as they are famous for drawing out the personalities of their subjects. However, in contrast to them, Evans was able to do such an undertaking without the fluff of props and, rather, by just taking in whatever is available at the moment. As for similarities to today’s riders, I would say that there would be instances when riders would also exude the same facial reactions as Evans’ subjects. For example, if taken at the right moment, without the camera being seen, such artlessness can be captured from today’s riders. Unfortunately, today’s riders are very acquainted with the camera (and it’s various forms), so some photos might feature subjects deliberately posing or altering their reactions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *