... Well a series of pictures really. By the inspired Walker Evans. In the late 1930s, photographer Walker Evans and writer James Agee collaborated on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, a portrait of rural sharecroppers in the Deep South. While working on the book, they collaborated on a lesser known project: Many Are Called, a three-year study of travellers on the New York subway. Evans used a hidden camera, photographing unsuspecting passengers traveling around the city. These images invite us to ask questions about these strangers, their lives and personalities. Walker presents a cross-section of people who are unposed and anonymous, as a result, the images have a wonderful sense of directness. These images really speak to me as I love people watching. When I was travelling to work on the tube every day, I always used to observe and wonder. I think there is something about being in such close proximity with such a diverse group of strangers accompanied by the unwritten rule of non-interaction that makes you feel it is perfectly fine to be nosy and eavesdrop / stare in a way you would never do outside the confines of a metal cylinder!
Evans catches his subjects in typical subway behavior, deep in daydreams, or asleep or gazing off into space. I like the middle couple who stare back at him, suggesting that even without a visible camera he was intently observing his subjects but also was being observed back. As we are put in the position of photographer it feels like they are observing us too.