39 Amazing Photos of New York City Subway Passengers From the Late 1930s and Early 1940s

As photographic technology advanced—cameras became more portable and film more sensitive to light, requiring shorter exposure times—people were no longer required to stay still for pictures. Walker Evans was among the photographers who capitalized on this flexibility. Between 1938 and 1941, he took his camera underground, where he photographed subway riders in New York City. “The guard is down and the mask is off,” he wrote, “even more than when in lone bedrooms (where there are mirrors). People’s faces are in naked repose down in the subway.”

(Photos by Walker Evans)

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