Glickman, Andrew Z.

Andrew Z. Glickman, Bethesda MD, USA

Among Strangers Underground: Commuters on the Washington, D.C. Metro

I am a commuter. I travel each workday from my home to an office in downtown Washington, D.C. and back again. This small portion of my day is a shared, communal experience with numerous people almost all of whom are total strangers, even though many of us see each other almost every day.  We travel together, often in very close quarters, but we will most likely never know anything else about one another.The individuals and groups who are the subjects for this portfolio are my fellow underground commuters.

Throughout this work, I have approached them as a passenger who happens to be a photographer, rather than as a photographer assigned to be a passenger.  While I’m particularly drawn to ambiguity and humor in ordinary moments, this work is more broadly about how subway commuters comport themselves in the company of strangers.  I’ve focused on passengers’ behavior -- including gestures, postures and proximity to fellow passengers -- to try to describe visually what it is like to accompany one another in these shared spaces.

My intent here is to convey photographically our shared humanity while simultaneously conveying my respect for my fellow passengers.  I have not staged or manipulated these images.  Similarly, I have not hunted for outlandish behavior or for the bizarre.  What is shown here are, quite simply, my everyday observations.