London’s Incredible Diversity Captured In Photos of Bus Stops

Between 2001 and 2005, photographer Richard Hooker visited various bus stops across London and shot film photographs of the people waiting for their rides to arrive. The 136 photographs he captured show the city’s incredible cultural diversity, explore how people relate to one another in confined spaces, and offer small peeks into personal lives.

Here’s Hooker’s explanation of the project, titled By the Bus Stop:

Every few minutes of the day, all over the capital, people gather into small groups to share the same space and fleeting moment in time. Simply to wait for something routine and forgettable as a London bus.

In transient, with time to kill, and often amongst strangers, each collection of these individuals proves completely unique from the next. The way people take ownership of the space, how they congregate, is often better than anything an art director or photographer could ever deliberately replicate. Each collection provides a little insight into London’s incredible diversity, how we relate to our surroundings, and each other.

Hooker also says that these candid compositions bare similarity to humanist paintings during the Renaissance era, which showed brief moments in time that exist but for a moment. He notes that specific combinations of people and places seen in these images last for only the short time between stops of the busses, and are then never seen again.

By the Bus Stop by Richard Hooker (via It’s Nice That)

Image credits: Photographs by Richard Hooker and used with permission

  • Patrick Downs

    Sorry, but these are incredibly banal photos. Could have been shot by a Google Street View car. The idea has some potential, but these look like they were shot by someone who is afraid of people, and of getting close with his camera.

  • Tim

    I like them, i don’t think they’re compositionally fantastic but it’s more about the people in the photos than the composition.

  • Jason

    Yes they are dull, how is this worthy of a post here?

  • Jason

    To add to my above comment, I think they would have been nice if perfectly framed, all the bus stops sized the same in frame, and the parallel lines straight, as they just look like crap snap shots now

  • Jonathan Maniago

    “Hooker also says that these candid compositions bare similarity to humanist paintings during the Renaissance era, which showed brief moments in time that exist but for a moment.”

    Really? Was “waiting” a common theme for humanist paintings of the Renaissance? How many works of that era portray scenes of people standing up or sitting down and doing little else? Serious question, no sarcasm intended.

    Among the photos shown here, I think only the 5th and 11th are worth noting.

  • harumph

    Yes, the fifth one is really the only one with any visual interest for me, and that’s mostly because of the background. He could have just parked himself there for the whole series.

    And as others have pointed out already, the distance from the subject(s) is off-putting. I think it even works against the stated theme. Instead of contemplating how people “take ownership of the space,” I’m just wondering why the framing is designed to de-emphasize the people and highlight the environment.

  • chris

    These shots are rather pedestrian – No wait! the’re catching a bus.

  • Jeremy

    what a boring story. did he get model releases from all these people? that would make it interesting because of all the pointless work that could have gone into it.

  • Matthew Burton McFaul

    On a similar subject, I have heard that very early mornings in Trafalgar square involve large numbers of diverse migrant workers congregating to take buses to office cleaning jobs. I always thought there was a great photo assignment waiting to be realised in capturing the juxtaposition of the specific nationalities with the icons of the British Empireā€¦ and the early morning light.


    A little diversity in a doctor’s waiting room in Florida


    Here we go

  • harumph

    Why would he need model releases?

  • Me

    I saw several references to this post on Twitter and was really looking forward to the photos, being a Londoner myself and fascinated with its diversity – best represented on local buses as they also get ‘very’ local commuters. This pictures, however, came as quite a disappointment :( Other than the fifth photo, which is composed well, has balanced elements and interesting colours, shapes and lines – the others are really more like Google Streetview captures, as another commenter suggests. No deliberation at all, not even straight, people and other elements chopped off, subjects hiding behind each other or parts of the bus stop, no consistency in framing. Just a little post-processing like levels and curves and sensible cropping could have saved some of these images. Renaissance humanist paintings never have incomplete human beings on the edges of the frame… I’d encourage Mr Hooker to try this again!

  • zaque

    in this matter composition isnt really matter. Its streets. what matters is, the moment is captured. :D

  • Dave

    Better resolution that a Google cam, but other than that, I agree. Snapshots.

  • stef

    Not really worth a mention…..

  • aletheamac

    Divserity captured of bus system is not better good so we should improve this system of diversity.