Faces on a train (apologies to Hitchcock)

Some of you know I especially like to do my people-watching on public transport, and as I am so dependent upon it here, it is very difficult to resist. Add to the dependence upon it the sheer range of variety, and it is an extemporaneous public portraitist’s paradise (or Hell, but more of that elsewhen*).

One can speculate and make up all manner of stories of what one sees in the eyes of these strangers who are sharing this space with you. Sometimes those speculations are true, other times they are simply your own fantasies. It doesn’t matter, the faces are there, we are all wondering why our train has been yet again pulled to a siding for a further delay, asking ourselves if Deutsche Bahn will ever finish working on the tracks.


I shared an image of her earlier, but she really does epitomize so many of the riders in the evening… others are more animated, sharing their experiences of the day with each other…


and his companion…


… just another day on the S-bahn.

There are days when I wish I weren’t so tired as to be a little too slow on the riposte. Shortly after making the above two photos, I was accosted from behind my seat by another rider who, in German began asking me what I was doing, taking pictures of people on the train, telling me how rude it was. Had I been a little less tired, I would have demanded, as loudly as possible, if they knew just how rude it was to be peeking over someone’s shoulder on a crowded train, spying on someone else’s phone.

But I didn’t — I simply suddenly forgot that I spoke any German at all and that was the end of it. The photographic subjects seemed vaguely amused and embarrassed simultaneously.

Until next time, a biéntot and tschuß!

Author: alfonsoelsabio

Citoyen du monde: Photographer, librarian/archivist/academic, musician, and writer... I've lived in, or visited, every state in the US except South Dakota and Hawaii.

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