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Bruce Davidson on Photographing the New York City Subway System

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Back in the spring of 1980, Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson began to photograph the subway system in NYC for his project titled Subway. NYRBlog has published an interesting essay — an excerpt from the introduction of Davidson’s book — in which the photographer talks about his experience:

To prepare myself for the subway, I started a crash diet, a military fitness exercise program, and early every morning I jogged in the park. I knew I would need to train like an athlete to be physically able to carry my heavy camera equipment around in the subway for hours every day. Also, I thought that if anything was going to happen to me down there I wanted to be in good shape, or at least to believe that I was. Each morning I carefully packed my cameras, lenses, strobe light, filters, and accessories in a small, canvas camera bag. In my green safari jacket with its large pockets, I placed my police and subway passes, a few rolls of film, a subway map, a notebook, and a small, white, gold-trimmed wedding album containing pictures of people I’d already photographed in the subway. In my pants pocket I carried quarters for the people in the subway asking for money, change for the phone, and several tokens. I also carried a key case with additional identification and a few dollars tucked inside, a whistle, and a small Swiss Army knife that gave me a little added confidence. I had a clean handkerchief and a few Band-Aids in case I found myself bleeding.

It’s an interesting glimpse into the mind of a photographer who takes his work very seriously.

Train of Thought: On the ‘Subway’ Photographs (via kottke.org)

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