Riding the train in Tokyo swings wildly between being horribly crowded and uncomfortable to terribly interesting. The difference is rush hour. In rush hour you are jammed tighter than a sardine in a can. In summer time it sadly becomes closer to oil sardines. There often isn’t even enough room to read the news on a smart phone. Everyone’s goal during rush hour is to get to their destination with as little interaction as possible with the stranger crammed against them.
In slower moments, the train gives people enough breathing space that they can indulge in a hobby to pass the train ride. Last night, a gentleman sitting beside me was studying the music for a difficult looking piano piece. Judging by the tiny title at the top written in cyrillic alphabet, it looked like a Russian composer. He was busy making notations on the piece. Another woman was studying Chinese from a book. Several people were absorbed with their smart phone. They could be doing anything from learning a language, arranging a date or slaying dragons on the latest MMORPG. I love that potential but the phones are more discrete than my inquisitive self would like. I enjoy these fleeting glimpses into people’s live through their activities on the train.
I took this picture a couple years ago. I had bought a Petri 1.9 Super Color Corrected rangefinder camera from a junk bin at an antique market for $30. It is a heavy beast and everything is manual. I took it everywhere testing it out.
The day I took this photo the afternoon light filtered through the train windows giving everything a romantic golden glow. The man reading the book was silhouetted nicely. I adjusted the focus ring by number, guessed the aperture and took the shot. Normally, I don’t like photographing on the train. It feels more invasive than regular street photography. But since I didn’t capture a face and I doubted my exposure was anywhere near accurate, I took the shot. I got an image but the color isn’t as I remember the day. I used Agfa 400 color negative film