Posts Tagged ‘Trains’

Day 219 – Rich, driving
7 Sept Day 219

Day 218 – The Back of a Train Seat
6 Sept Day 218

Day 217 – Mad Monday
5 Sept Day 217

Day 216 – A bit of light on the eyes
4 Sept Day 216

Day 215 – Post Grand Final Crossword Puzzle…
3 Sept Day 215

Day 213 – Two Clicks
1 Sept Day 213

Day 212 – Live from Anne Frank’s Loft
31 Aug Day 212


Day 240 – Morning Train

Ah the good ole illegal train picture, risking my freedom (and enduring the odd dirty look) to defiantly capture Sydney life! Now hopefully there isn’t anything in that picture that would aid and abet potential terrorists. I won’t go on again about my opposition to some of the ridiculous photographic policies that are out there but I have been reading up on some street photography tips that has made me more motivated to take pictures. One of the tips was to look like you belong, like there is nothing suspicious about you and repeat to yourself positive affirmations about belonging there. I thought to myself but I do believe that. I really believe in the importance of street photographers, I believe people who dedicate a lifetime to it can produce maybe one, maybe two or even more photographs that will be important to the world in a time when we’ll be long gone (unless they invent an anti-aging mechanism in the next 50 years!).

I think its important to have photos of reality, where people are natural in their everyday environment. I find sometimes its hard to get this with friends or family. For one they observe a lot quicker when you have a camera and know, in my case, that I’m likely to use it! It changes their expression from the normal one that accompanies whatever they are doing, to one where they are over concerned about what they will look like and too conscious of putting forward their ‘best’ face. On the street its a lot easier to just observe and record without being noticed, and generally if someone does notice you can usually take a few shots before they change their expression and/or position.

And what better place to take pictures than on trains, they are, a sometimes frustrating, part of most of our everyday lives. A necessary evil maybe even and an interesting study of people lost in their own world. I believe its important to record these types of moments. Now I just need to go photoshop out the part of the photo where it gives instructions to terrorists on how to hate,  how to live inhumanly and how to aquire the need to instill panic and fear in our society. I might be a while…

Quote of the day: “Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced” – Hans Hofmann


Day 198 – On the Train

For as much time as I spend on the train I don’t take many pictures. For one I guess it’s hard to take pictures and not be seen (my camera clicks too loud!) but also previously not a lot of train scenes interested me. I saw this one and straight away thought ‘take out the camera’! Just the way the people were staring out the window, the guy half falling asleep and the sign and bridge in the background. Anyway it’s got me a little more interested in train photos. After all commuting takes up so much of my daily life, its probably easy to switch off and not recognise the moments that occur when my head’s in the MX, deleting text messages (train journeys are usually my deleting text messages time!) or staring out the window myself.

I’d like to capture those moments of life that are often ignored or thought of as ‘time we need to pass through before the more interesting stuff happens’, capture it in a more interesting way and subsequently make my own time on the trains/buses more interesting!

More train pictures here

Quote of the day: In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Day 107 – Strangers on a Train

I was looking at a book yesterday by Walker Evans of photos taken in the late 1930s on the subway in New York. He had a camera hidden in his jacket and sapped away at the people sitting across from him on the train. He then waited for 40 years to publish the book with those photos! Anyway I obviously must’ve been inspired by his influence as I took this photo today. Not of the ‘strangers’ faces, as my noisy Canon 50D isn’t quite as discreet as the little Leica that Walker had, but over the shoulder of one passenger with all of the others also looking away.

Well my photo certainly isn’t anything to write home about but looking at Walker Evans’ photos you get such a sense of how life back then is similar to life now. We still go through our daily routine, on trains, buses, planes, ferrys surrounded by the anonymous people that we barely pay head to, and that barely pay head to us. The photos show people so similar to a typical Sydney crowd in 2010, the same vacant, emotionless stare existing in that moment just to get from one point in life to another. So void of life that it almost brings it home to you how we squander living moments, and yet we never seek to change it. Yes, sometimes a train journey can be a great time out for us to read a book, do a crossword, think something through. But how many times have you stared out the window, willing the time to pass just until you get to where you were going?

There is rarely any interaction between strangers on a train. As a culture it is not typical and as a society we do nothing to change that status quo. A regular sight nowadays is people playing on video games, or games on their phones, would any train company ever think of putting a whiteboard in a carriage to facilitate an old-fashioned game of noughts and crosses?! How about the train journey from Sydney to Newcastle, giving rows 1 to 10 discounts at the food carriage if they complete the suduko as a team before the half-way point? Encouraging a team atmosphere and facilitating interaction between our human counterparts. I mean one of the biggest problems in the modern world is how alone the majority of us feel. Suicide is still a massive problem, particularly in Western civilisation. And of course it is, when we live in such an individual orientated world. Although we wake up with our partners, work with our workmates, exercise with our teammates, pray with our church groups, sing with our choirs, we don’t have the same people who share all our lives as we share theirs. As Elaine Paige sang “No one in your life is with you constantly, No one is completely on your side”

We do have different groups we engage in similar activities with, I guess in part to tell ourselves we aren’t alone, that we can feel a connection to a person or people and that can make us feel like we belong. So why can’t we do that in certain social situations like trains? Yes we are surrounded by strangers but so was almost everyone else we know before we knew them! We could be missing out on meeting a best friend, a partner, a perfect business associate, the one person who can say the right thing to change your life, all because its socially unacceptable to try and find anything in common with a complete stranger on a train. And you must have something in common, if you are both on the same train going towards the same place at the same time…coincidence?

When I used live in Surry Hills I caught the 372 bus and then a train into the city to work every morning, usually between 8.10 and 8.30 am depending on how difficult it was to get out of the bed that morning! If it was a later bus I would usually end up running from the train to my office building to try and get in before the boss! After a while I began to notice that this one woman regularly got on at the same stop as me, I often had to run for the later buses, and so did she. She got off at the train station as did most of the passengers and then got lost in the crowd. It was a good few weeks later before I saw her in my office building, the bus stop lady worked in the same building as me! What a coincidence! Over time we would often be waiting for the bus together or simultaneously getting splashed by cars as we sprinted along on a miserable July morning trying not to miss the 8.26 to Central. Did we ever say a word to each other? No. I wondered what her name was, whether she was married, she looked married, what company she worked with and what job title she had. I predicted a high powered job in a male dominated industry, she often looked stressed. One day she got on the bus carrying an x-ray envelope, I was sitting a few seats back and strained to try and see the name on the front, just out of curiosity! I wondered what she had potentially broken and stopped short of making up stories in my head of how it might have happened! The bus journey wasn’t that long, and once I got to work, or home to my housemates she was promptly forgotten, until the next time we met and didn’t speak. I wonder what she thought of me.

A few months later I changed jobs and saw her less, even later still changed houses and I haven’t seen her since. It’s not like I missed her, even though she was a constant reassuring presence in my morning routine, but I do wonder what kind of influence she would’ve had on my life had we ever struck up a conversation about the weather one morning. Would it eventually have progressed to discussing weekend plans, our various jobs, popping next door for afternoon tea (I mean for all I knew she could’ve very well lived next door!) or heading out to the Bat and Ball to have a beer and talk about life? Now I’ll never know and I wonder why she ever crossed my path at all! Anyway I hadn’t thought about her for a while so this ramble was an interesting trip down memory lane!

Quote of the day: “All war must be just the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity; strangers whom, in other circumstances, you would help if you found them in trouble, and who would help you if you needed it” – Mark Twain

Day 25 – Changes

Was a bit busy yesterday to write with work and college but I took this photo at Central train station. Again, trains, can’t get away from them! I just liked the way the light was reflecting off the train as it passed through the station.

Funny day in a way, I moved desks at work, delighted with my new environment and a different view (still at a wall but a different wall at least)! Similar thing happened at college, for the first few weeks everyone had sat in the same spot for the lectures. Its something I don’t like, as I have this wierd need for a change in routine every-so-often! I’d be too scared, however, to upset the status quo that seemed to exist in our seating arrangement, but to my surprise yesterday someone had messed it up and everyone sat in different places. I’m so happy, it really is the little things in life!

Quote of the day: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves”
— Leo Tolstoy

Day 23 – From Russia With Love

Today was dominated by college, interesting VC lecture, great egg sambo at the cafe that know my coffee order (but I don’t know their name?), a start on 1 assignment and a 4th change of mind about my photographer presentation (2 were due to my choices being stolen by classmates-just kidding!).

As an aside i’m just watching the Winter Olympics, due to my housemates insistence that its required viewing. I don’t know the name of the thing we were just watching but its basically some people skiing down a slope at substantial speed then hurling themselves off another slope, doing triple head-rush-inducing somersaults in the air and hoping they don’t break their necks on the landing. Like we were saying what kind of parents send their kids off for ski-ala-break your neck somersault lessons? Just hurl yourself off this cliff son and one day you could get to Vancouver..

As for the Canadians getting some well dodgy gold medals…!

Anyway the picture today is just a random train scene, as I seem to be spending so much of my time on them why not remind myself of them a little bit more!

Ahh the scarcasm is getting to me, best be logging off!

Quote of the Day: “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are” – Anais Nin