Michael Wolf: Tokyo Compression

Welcome to the subway. Not the raw, almost glamorous subway of Bruce Davidson’s New York nor the antiseptic vast metro of the tourists snaps of Pyongyang but the squashed, otherworldly commuter hell subway of Japan’s capital. British TV of a certain type used to feature footage of poor folks on Japanese trains being physically squeezed into carriages and now through Michael Wolf’s images it’s possible to see the aftermath: the faces of the commuters as they stare back at the world.

The shots often feel ethereal: faces held in puzzling concentration stare through condensation or the distortion of the carriage glass. Some look like they’re struggling with discomfort, others are serene, one flicks the photographer the finger. The overall feeling is of an eerie calm in the middle of the storm; of lonely defiance in the midst of a crowd. The result is that instead of an indistinguishable mass we see instead the humanity struggling within the crowd.

See it here.

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