Finding beauty in Japan’s frenzied public transport system
In standard Melbourne form, all of the city broke into a collective state of angst last week when CEO for Public transport Victoria, Jerome Weimar, announced sweeping changes to the service’s timetabling. While Weimar insisted that the changes only impacts would be the increase in services and consistency across scheduling, this in no way stopped us from all feeling the very real threat that we would all be left as either little sardines helplessly trying to fight for our allotted 10 cms of space, or stranded wet and shivering on the side of the road as the 5th consecutive tram of the hour has just continued down the tracks without even bothering to stop to try and let you worm your way into the jam-packed carriage. Granted, personal space isn’t something we can expect when travelling on a transport system, but we have to feel a little gratitude that we aren’t making our daily commute in Tokyo.
A bit like a creepy voyeur, Tokyo-based German photographer Michael Wolf has been watching as commuters cram into overcrowded trains and, just as the doors slide closed, snaps the pain and agony of travellers as they are helplessly try to slot into the most horrifying of spaces for their journey. The result is a series of hauntingly beautiful images he has entitled, ‘Tokyo Compression’, which he describes as the depiction of “life lived as a sardine”.