When riding public transportation during rush hour many things we take for granted fly out the window. Be gone with personal body space, privacy and fresh air! Hong Kong-based photographer Michael Wolf has been capturing people in the densely packed subway system of Tokyo since 2008. In “Tokyo Compression,” Wolf was able to get as close as 12 inches from the subway windows, on the side of the train that the commuters could not exit.
In an interview with Landscape Stories, Wolf said that the “element of inescapable proximity is crucial for the series, as I wanted to introduce the act of photographing into the topic… I wanted the viewer of the photographs to think not just about the situation of the commuters, but also about the act of photography, how invasive it can be; to question the moral and ethical aspects of the profession… I sometimes felt very ambivalent about the whole project, as many of the people whom I pointed my camera at obviously felt very uncomfortable. In the end I went ahead with it, because I felt that I was not humiliating any individual, rather, I was commenting/critiquing a social condition. In the end, the pictures became an incredibly powerful metaphor for an aspect of modern society, and kicked loose a great deal of thought about living conditions in mega cities.”