Over the last century, the New York subway system has dramatically developed and changed, and it continues to do so today. Despite the ever-changing surroundings, passengers on an NYC train seem to remain basically the same. The men, women, and children of any decade can be seen reading newspapers, staring out the window, or even catching a quick snooze between stops.
In the 1960's, photographer Enrico Natali created an extensive study of this subway behavior in his series, aptly titled New York Subway. He captured a wide range of personalities and characters that filled the cars, rushed up and down the stairs, and stood waiting on platforms for their trains to arrive. The beautiful black and white portraits of unsuspecting subjects elegantly convey the many moments of waiting that occur in the massively complex underground system.
When explaining how the project began, Natali said, “Since I lived in the depths of Brooklyn and rode the subway to where I worked in Manhattan, it seemed reasonable to make the subway my first project. I became so involved in the work that for a time I all but lived in the subway. One night, looking over the photographs, I had the realization that they were larger than I was, that photography was my vocation, and America my subject.”