We have a train here in Atlanta called Marta. Marta stands for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. It’s awesome because for about two bucks, you can get anywhere in the city without having to drive in traffic. Sometimes when I get on Marta it’s crowded, like during rush hour, but for the most part, it’s a comfortable ride.
Apparently the subway train in Tokyo is very different than here. It is way over crowded and every 80 seconds when it stops, more people board the train and as a result, people push each other to the limits of what is humanly possible as far as optimizing space. People not only have to touch each other, they get pushed until they are close enough to smell each other’s breath and perfume. Most of the commuters who ride that train describe their ride on it as a miserable existence, just trying to hold their breath and hang on until their daily stop.
Photographer Michael Wolf observed this whole phenomenon and decided to take pictures of it. Since so many people get their faces smashed right up to the dirty windows of the train as the crowd pushes them up against it, he chose to photograph that. He spent 30 days in a Tokyo metro station capturing these shots. You can view the whole collection, called Tokyo Compression, at Photo Michael Wolf. Wow, this is so sad.