For the past 45 years, photographer Bob Mazzer has been capturing spontaneous and unpredictable scenes from the London Underground. He received his first camera at the age of 13, but it wasn't until he began working as a projectionist at a porn cinema in the 1970s that he began conscientiously documenting the lively characters of the Tube during his daily commute.
Mazzer's photos, which are on display until July 13 at his debut exhibition Underground at the Howard Griffin Gallery in London, offer a rare, unfiltered look at the diverse subcultures and walks of people who inhabited London in the past decades. The well-timed snapshots present a gritty, dynamic underground world filled with angry scuffles, grinning punks, rowdy friends, passionate embraces, and tipsy antics.
Mazzer, who carried an inconspicuous Leica camera everywhere with him in the '70s and '80s, was inspired by society and people who weren't afraid to stand out. “I loved people being themselves on the tube, not following the herd. People who took drinks on the train. There's a shot of a woman with a beer, I liked all of that. I was immediately drawn to anyone who did that. A guy got onto the train with a guitar and an amp strapped to his back. I immediately wanted to hook up and get to know these people and photograph them. I wanted to be part of it,” he says. “Every day I travelled to King's Cross and back. Coming home late at night, it was like a party and I felt like the tube was mine and I was there to take the pictures.”