Photo Essay

Tales of the Underground

baby messiah

I love the Tube, but I'm not the only one. Turns out a recent poll voted London as having the best subway system and safest public transport in the world. Funny that, because everyday I ride the Tube, I'm usually witness to the odd collision or two.

For almost a year now, I've been travelling the tube, armed with camera in hand documenting these unreported incidents. The immovable presence in these cases, are the multitude of advertising hoardings that decorate the Underground. The result of their accidental collisions with the continuous load of commuters? No more damage than a wry, knowing smile.

It's an old gag. Chancing upon an advertising hoarding which unwittingly interacts with the world in front of it, creating an entirely new scene. It's my favourite way of passing time, whilst I wait for the train to pull in, looking out for these fantastical moments. They often last for the merest of seconds, maybe a minute tops, so it's even more thrilling to not only witness one, but capture it too. I think the Underground, with it's ever-present advertising, and constant clamber and flow of commuters is the perfect environment for this. I've long since given up reading during my Tube travels, instead watching the windows opposite me as the train pulls into some station, posters whizzing to a slow halt, like the bouncing ball on a roulette wheel... camera primed, waiting to see if that poster of the giant gerbil will stop just by that old lady's head...

For me, that's what makes this all the more fantastical. Most Tube travelers are so full of their little rituals they fail to notice the accidental scenes unfolding around them. Whilst most scavenge for a stray newspaper, and others roll back their eyes and nod off, I sit there, silently in awe of the giant pair of unblinking eyes that roll by, slowly peering into the carriage.

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Hi there!

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—The JPG team

1 response

  • Sean Blake

    Sean Blake said (22 Jun 2009):

    Brilliant & clever!

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