Day 99 #100HappyDays: Bob Mazzer's Underground on the Underground

June 18th, 2014, 9pm

Another London book to add to my collection, published by the excellent Spitalfields Life (do visit the blog and buy the book!)

A great evening spent listening to Bob talk about taking photos on the Underground over a 45 year period. There is a great sense of history and nostalgia in his photos. He talked about wanting to capture the private (lives) of the public in a very public place, like the tube. I really liked the serendipitous nature of some of his captures.

Looking at his photos of old London made me think back to my childhood journeys on the tube. I went to Chinese school in Frith Street in Soho from the age of 12, with my two older sisters. And then I started to go to Chinese school on my own at the age of 15-16. It was London in the 80s and I remember how grimy and unloved the tube, platforms and tunnels were. I remember the guard in the last carriage of the Bakerloo line, and the wooden train carriages, and people being allowed to smoke too!

Travelling home on the short journey on the tube from Piccadilly Circus to Waterloo, I was determined to pay homage to Bob by trying to snap a photo on the tube. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as fortunate as Bob has been with his subjects. Plus, I was a bit shy about taking my camera out and photographing anyone. So, a photo of his book on the tube instead.

I did see the following people who would have made great photos, but due to shyness, you’ll have to contend with me describing them instead.

Picture 1: The tomboyish lady wearing a leather jacket and the daintiest crystal drop earrings. She had a pullout from a newspaper with the World Cup schedule on her lap, and she was busy programming in the dates and times on her iPhone.

Picture 2: The lady with floppy and wild hair which looked like a spaniel, with an iPhone in her mouth, hiccuping, whilst she checked her Blackberry for emails. She then got out her iPad, continued to hiccup, and completed her electronic jigsaw puzzle.

And I can’t believe it’s my 100 days tomorrow!

Peter, Ragini, Shu, Adrian and 2 others said thanks.

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So-Shan Au

Londoner, bit of writing, takes photos, book geek, works in publishing, loves maps, typography, papercuts, architecture, trees, art, design, photography, gardening... @soshanau

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