Public transportation can be a great equilizer — no matter the city, riders can see all walks of life during a bustling morning commute. Photographer Stan Raucher has been influenced by the underground since he shot his first photos inside the Paris metro in 2007.
Since then, he’s been snapping photos of commuters in cities across the world — from Shanghai to London. Instead of glamorous travel photos, Raucher’s thoughtful subway images give viewers a gilmpse of what every day life in like in these metropolitan areas: what people are wearing, how they’re interacting, and, of course, what the interiors of the public transit systems look like across the world.
His new book, “Metro: Scenes from an Urban Stage” contains 50 photos that let viewers inside over 15 different transit systems. Ahead, a selection of images from Raucher’s book, and his thoughts behind the work.
'I began doing candid photography of people in public spaces in 2006, and I took my first metro photos in Paris as I travelled around the city in 2007,' Raucher told Business Insider.
'I always look for human interactions -- connections, disconnections, emotions of all sorts -- that provide a glimpse into the human condition,' he said.
'I would always have my camera hanging around my neck in plain sight, but I seldom would raise it to my eye in order to take a photo,' he said.
Together, the entire series reflects both human disconnection, and at times, 'tender connections' between commuters.
When asked what each subway says about a culture, Raucher said, 'I prefer to let viewers draw their own conclusions.'
'Although there are some differences in the behaviour and demeanour of passengers in various cities, it seems that the similarities generally outweigh the differences. Without the captions or external clues such as printed signs, most people might have a difficult time determining where a particular photo was taken,' he said.
Marlaine Glicksman, who wrote an essay to accompany the book, describes Raucher's work: 'He's drawn towards moments internal and intimate...interactions startling only in how universally commonplace -- how human -- they are, in how the very publicness of riding a subway can give way to moments of intimacy at all.'
Glicksman goes on, 'Raucher's focus is not the dramatic actions that usually capture our consciousness and newspaper headlines.'
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