Project 1 The Unaware (iii)
Philip-Lorca diCorcia’ s ‘Heads’ series ‘provokes contemplation of how much of the street must be visible in order to be considered a street photograph’ (Bussard, 2014: 143). The street photographer Nick Turpin (b. 1969) has said:
The most common misunderstanding about Street Photography is to assume that it is about a location, the ‘Street’, when it is really a particular ‘approach’ to picture making in any place that the public gather. It is not surprising then that Street Photographers make great pictures in art galleries and museums, on beaches, in parks, malls, arcades and on trains and buses (Turpin, 2014)
Photographer Sarah Lee says that ‘The first photography book I ever bought was Tom Wood’s Bus Odyssey [Woods, 2002]. It got me into candid humanist photography that showed people going about their ordinary lives’ (Lee, 2017). Lee has an ongoing series ‘Nighthawks, Night Bus’ (see fig. 1. – fig. 3.).
In his series ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ (published in 2016 as ‘On the Night Bus’) Nick Turpin ‘captured painterly portraits of London commuters on buses at night. The images, shot through steamed windows during the winter months, show passengers in various states of slumber’ (Hoxton Mini Press, 2016) – see fig. 4. – fig. 6.
In 1994 Martin Parr (b. 1952) became a member of Magnum ‘after much heated debate over his provocative photographic style’ (Burri, 2009: 397 – 398). However, in his series ‘Japanese commuters’ (Parr, 1998) Parr could be said to exemplify the credo laid down by the founders of Magnum i.e. ‘to photograph the human condition of our changing world’ (Burri, 2009: 397 – 398) – see fig. 7 – fig. 9. It is the consistent single perspective – the top of the head bowed in sleep – that makes this series so compelling.
Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) photographs of the London Underground in 2000:
could be read as ‘abstract studies of surface textures’ as much documentation of people pushed together on the Tube. One image is a close-up of someone’s armpit [see fig. 10], another is a view of two legs: combat trousers against pin-stripes [see fig. 11.] (Tate, s.d).
Photographer Bob Mazzer:
has taken pictures [of unaware people] on the tube in London for 40 years – as a 60s schoolboy, carrying a twin-lens Rolleiflex, then as a commuter in the 80s, wielding a Leica M4 (Lamont, 2013) [see fig. 12. – fig. 14.]
Lukas Kuzma has followed in a long tradition of imagining public transport and its surroundings as a stage upon which to photograph humanity unaware. He says of his book ‘Transit’ (Kuzma, 2013):
Looking and photographing in London’s underground. This high paced environment reminds me of an anthill except this is not a home, but a series of transits. All the different kinds of people from all over the world in London intermingling in the subway. These intersections connects thousands of people to their destinations, creating a variety of unique situations (Blurb, s.d).
Kuzma used colour and black-and-white photography in his study of the London underground (see fig. 15.).
Away from public transport and the street is Tom Wood’s ‘Looking for Love’ (Wood, 1989) a series taken in his local disco pub between 1984 and 1987 (see fig. 16. – fig. 18.). These photographs share much in common with the street photography discussed above:
Actually, Mr. Wood is a kind of street photographer working indoors in an environment full of people on the move with tension and desire in the air, and he manages to get quite a bit of it on film (Smith, 2002)
Blurb (s.d) Transit. At: http://au.blurb.com/b/5798286-transit (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Burri, René (2009) ‘Martin Parr’ In: Lardinois (ed.) Magnum Magnum. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 397 – 398
Bussard, Katherine A. (2014) Unfamiliar Streets: The Photographs of Richard Avedon, Charles Moore, Martha Rosler, and Philip-Lorca diCorcia. New Havan: Yale University Press
Hoxton Mini Press (2016) On the Night Bus. At: https://hoxtonminipress.com/collections/books/products/on-the-night-bus (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Kuzma, Lukas (2013) Transit. London: Blurb
Lamont, Tom (2013) ‘Going underground – in pictures’. In: The Guardian [online] At: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2013/jul/27/photography-london-underground-bob-mazzer (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Lee, Sarah (2017) ‘Night owls: portraits of life on the night bus – in pictures’ In: The Guardian At: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2017/apr/06/night-owls-portraits-of-life-on-the-night-bus-in-pictures (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Parr, Martin (1998) ‘Japanese commuters’ [photography series] At: https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=2S5RYD12J76K (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Smith, Roberta (2002) ‘Art in Review; Tom Wood — ‘Looking for Love’’ In: The New York Times [online] At: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/13/arts/art-in-review-tom-wood-looking-for-love.html (Accessed on 28.06.17)
Tate (s.d) Wolfgang Tillmans: Room guide, room 4. At: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/wolfgang-tillmans-if-one-thing-matters-everything-matters/wolfgan-2 (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Turpin, Nick (2014) Photography and Public Transport. At: http://nickturpin.com/photography-and-public-transport/ (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Wood, Tom (2002) Bus Odyssey. Berlin: Hatje Cantz
Wood, Tom (1989) Looking for Love. Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications
Figure 1. Lee, Sarah (2016) Bus Life, Regent Street, January. At: http://9ba84e31f5df1e831aee-dab1dae77ca626078f531546acd68e6a.r10.cf2.rackcdn.com/cb8ba8c4b7b64a7047fbe72e5d7c9814-16f15ab3ea66c6825739d78b02b63c5b.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 2. Lee, Sarah (2016) Bus Life, Regent Street, January. At: http://9ba84e31f5df1e831aee-dab1dae77ca626078f531546acd68e6a.r10.cf2.rackcdn.com/85887fca4ff0dc6d2b084786cf7d0c3f-245d1510f3b3f09affa88a868037ae81.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 3. Lee, Sarah (2017) Bus Life, Camden, March. At: http://9ba84e31f5df1e831aee-dab1dae77ca626078f531546acd68e6a.r10.cf2.rackcdn.com/0059b6a165be2af29ba299c40d6619eb-13b03243181c8540b5af7b69d4747cbf.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 4. Turpin, Nick (2016) Through a Glass Darkly. At: http://nickturpin.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/1-2.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 5. Turpin, Nick (2016) Through a Glass Darkly. At: http://nickturpin.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/4-1.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 6. Turpin, Nick (2016) Through a Glass Darkly. At: http://nickturpin.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2-1.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 7. Parr, Martin (1998) from Japanese Commuters. At: http://mediastore4.magnumphotos.com/CoreXDoc/MAG/Media/TR2/a/6/a/0/LON8783.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 8. Parr, Martin (1998) from Japanese Commuters. At: http://mediastore.magnumphotos.com/CoreXDoc/MAG/Media/TR2/5/2/6/7/LON8784.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 9. Parr, Martin (1998) from Japanese Commuters. At: http://mediastore.magnumphotos.com/CoreXDoc/MAG/Media/TR2/f/2/a/6/LON8798.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 10. Tillmans, Wolfgang (2000) from Circle Line. At: http://www.tate.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/grid-normal-8-cols/public/images/wolfgang%20tilmans%20circle%20line%204.jpg?itok=1GYzvK4K (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 11. Tillmans, Wolfgang (2000) from Circle Line. At: http://www.tate.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/grid-normal-8-cols/public/images/wolfgang%20tilmans%20circle%20line%202.jpg?itok=zzdeTm4_ (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 12 Mazzer, Bob (s.d) Image4_01.jpg. At: https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/7/26/1374845790917/Bob-Mazzer-Tube-Pictures-014.jpg?w=1010&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=162fb2a413e7d5b7a32b707aa9717e51 (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 13 Mazzer, Bob (s.d) Untitled. At: https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/7/26/1374845782872/Bob-Mazzer-Tube-Pictures-008.jpg?w=1010&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=e27b72f02c9b1e5fe7e4b1d387f1be38 (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 14 Mazzer, Bob (s.d) Image4.jpg. At: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2013/jul/27/photography-london-underground-bob-mazzer#img-14 (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 15. Kuzma, Lukas (2013) from Transit. At: https://iandp513273.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/210a6-img_6471.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 16. Wood, Tom (1985) Bottlenose (Looking for Love series). [C-type print, 39.4 x 58.4 cm] At: http://www.tate.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/grid-normal-12-cols/public/images/tom_wood_bottlenose_chelsea_reach.jpg?itok=tLsELhI0 (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 17. Wood, Tom (1984) Untitled (Looking for Love series). At: https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/976x549_b/p01srz10.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)
Figure 18. Wood, Tom (1984) Chelsea Intro (Looking for Love series). At: https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/976x549_b/p01srx3f.jpg (Accessed on 27.06.17)