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Photo Project Captures People’s Reactions to Someone Falling Asleep on Them on the Subway



The New York City subway can be a cold place, metaphorically speaking. Headphones, cell phones, that one Seamless ad they’ve no doubt already read 600 times, whatever their approach, people go to great lengths to avoid communicating with the other people in the car.

So what happens when one of those people breaks, not only the unwritten rule against talking, but touching! How do people react on the subway when a complete stranger falls asleep on their shoulder?

Artist George Ferrandi set out to find the answer to this question in a simultaneously funny and touching (pun thoroughly enjoyed) photo series dubbed It Felt Like I Knew You…


With the help of Angela Gilland, the duo took to the NYC Subway armed with an iPhone and the goal of capturing some potentially very awkward interactions. Here’s how Ferrandi contextualizes the images:

I ride the NYC subway trains, usually in the evening when the seats are full. I focus on the shape of the space between the person sitting next to me and myself. I attempt to mentally and emotionally re-sculpt that space. In my mind, I reshape it — from the stiff and guarded space between strangers to the soft and yielding space between friends. I direct all my energy to this space between us. When the space palpably changes, and I completely feel like the stranger sitting next to me is my friend, I rest my head on that person’s shoulder… and see what happens.

All of the images below are frames pulled from iPhone videos shot by Gilland, and show each interaction from start to finish:







To see more of Ferrandi’s work, or if you’d like to keep up with this ongoing project, head over to her website by clicking here.

(via Lost at E Minor)

Image credits: Stills from iPhone video shot by Angela Gilland for George Ferrandi, and used with permission