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markwiley


Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Collection: Commuters
Date Uploaded: Mar 1, 2015

Viewed: 258
Comments: 10
Favorites: 0

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03/11/2015 03:40:17 AM
This is a beautiful series of images. It's been a long time since I've been on a subway, but I recall the vacant look nearly everyone had when traveling alone. In this group of images there are also those with furtive stares, apparently watching someone nearby. In my mind's eye I end up seeing two natural defenses: avoiding eye contact by staring into oblivion and quickly glancing around to make sure of surroundings. There's a tension throughout all of the images made even more impactful because there is a whole collection of similar photographs.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/08/2015 08:58:10 PM
haunting photographs. a lot of unfocused eyes, alone in a crowd, alone in their minds. especially liked 11, a beautiful pose.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/07/2015 11:03:16 AM
You get me all the time with these captures Mark. The fact that you organized them this time in a collection makes them even more powerful. The collection is more then just "commuters".
I would love once to look at our subway images and observe the Chicago versus NYC! Alas, since I have a larger camera, still small though, I find myself less invisible as before. I'd love to accompany you and just observe you.
Please keep contributing to the essay topic. It's a delight to follow your stories
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/05/2015 01:01:52 AM
Brilliant essay, I can see why the smiley face was created to compensate for all this languish, though I suspect a lot of these faces could explode into bliss if a smile was to behold them. You're a master of the close proximity transport shot. I suppose a few Leonard Cohan lyrics would be in order, but I'll spare all of us further despair. Paul probably summed up most of what I would have eventually thought and wished I had thought. Well done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/04/2015 02:36:23 PM
most of your portraits convey a sort of Nirvana of waiting... a strong blank expression common in painted portraits. quite beautiful portraits.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/04/2015 06:04:10 AM
You said in a follow-up post that your essay was "woefully short on thoughts". But you were wrong because it certainly isn't.

If I were the editor of a photo magazine and this came across my desk my immediate thought would have been "Comfortably Numb", and I'd have given that title and these pictures to my best scribe and said to give me 500 words on that theme to do justice to these pictures, and keep your sentences short (not like this one).

I'd have said to the writer, "You are one of hundreds, of thousands, serving your daily sentence on mass commuter transit, and yet you are alone. You are wrapped in an invisible cloak, and insulated from emotion, from expression, from any apparent animating influence at all. You are insulated even from yourself." It's a very sci-fi concept, the suppression, the spiritual abdication, of any visible sense of self as a means of coping with distopia.

Some words already written on the subject by Pink Floyd:
"There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
...
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb"


So, enough of that stuff: the essay is coherent and consistent and anything but woefully short on thoughts.

But what of the photographs? They are perfect technically and look like film photography, when different things mattered. By that I mean they are technically accomplished without shouting about it, which is the opposite of much contemporary digital photography. In your pictures the "Wow" is whispered, and all the better and more profound for that restraint.

And there's not a clunker among them either; not one that would know the cruel cut of my editor's red wax pencil. I tried, went three times through: could not make a single deletion. Every single image contains its own essay. To continue the musical allusion, it's like a great album where every track is good both alone and as an essential brick in the wall, too. It's astounding consistency; either you had thousands to choose from, or you're bloody supernatural.

Mark, I loved the pictures, loved the essay, and loved the time as a fantasy editor that you gave me.

Thank you.


Message edited by author 2015-03-04 06:23:52.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2015 04:16:21 AM
First of all, Iím happy to see you join this side challenge. Coalescing several images into an essay has been a rewarding experience for me. When done well the final result has more impact than the individual images. And thatís what you have done. What captivates me about your essay is the commuters eyes. The expressionless stairs mixed with curious observers. Itís remarkable how we see and experience the same thing differently. Youíve captured the commuters experience very well.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/01/2015 12:53:41 PM
What an interesting selection of image. Everyone seems somehow pre-occupied and unaware of your presence. I'm assuming these were shot either with a camera phone or a smaller camera for it would be hard to be as unobtrusive with a bigger camera.

Thanks for sharing.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/01/2015 10:42:57 AM
I have recently come to realize how difficult it is to get good close-up candid shots but you don't seem to have any trouble with that. This is a remarkable collection. To me, this is a study of women as they navigate public space. The close-up of the face makes it very personal. The still photograph gives me the luxury of taking my time looking at this personal moment. Many appear to have a vacant, absent look. It is probably my projection but I interpret the vacant look as an attempt to disappear, not be noticed or singled out. I believe it is safer for women alone out in the world to withdraw and disappear. I wonder if a similar essay on men would show a certain "presence" or "ready for trouble" look which I think would be the safer stance for most men. I may be making more out of your essay than intended (perhaps they are bored) but I have enjoyed your essay very much.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/01/2015 09:48:14 AM
Just as I had forecast in a recent forum comment to you, you have failed to disappoint. This is wonderful photography, technically and beyond, and I will be back to comment in more detail. For now, Mark, thank you for joining the DPC essayists, and I'm not one bit surprised that your first offering is so damned classy!
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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