Photographer Andre D. Wagner‘s first book, Here for the Ride, is a beautiful compilation of contemporary New York street photography. Turning his mundane 9-to-5 commute into an opportunity, Wagner began documenting his subway rides from Brooklyn to New York. This work evolved into the monograph, which contains 62 images that weave a personal story of life in the city.
From 2013 to 2016, Wagner dutifully carried out his work, continuing a tradition of street photographers who have immortalized the Big Apple. As if nodding at this past, he works with black and white film, a habit he picked up at the beginning of his photography career and never thought to change. “I like the harmony of monochrome, and nothing looks as good as silver gelatin prints,” Wagner shares with us. “All of my heroes—Roy DeCarava, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand—shot in black and white so it was a natural choice for me.”
As time passed, Wagner's work evolved into something bigger—the images got stronger and he began to see the project move from a way to pass time into Here for the Ride. And indeed, the work tells a strong narrative, collectively allowing viewers insight into the soul of the passengers. Encased in the train car for just a short time, Wagner's quick thinking and visual instincts helped him build this photographic time capsule.
And while these photographs depict small, personal moments, they can also be read for wider impact. In particular, Wagner cites his photo of a black family sitting next to a white family on the subway as a personal favorite. “It’s not often that I recognize that a photo will be impactful in the moment, but at that time I knew and kept photographing until the interaction ended.”
Here for the Ride, published by Creative Future, is divided into two interrelated documents—a hardcover book featuring the primary photographic narrative and a paperback that includes a profound essay depicting how the photographs visually portray American life from a socio-political standpoint, as well as an in-depth interview and a series of images that delve deeper into the process and thoughts behind the book. The first editions are limited to 750 copies and are available for purchase on the photographer's website.