Public transport has always been a favourite place for photographers to catch subjects unaware. Nowhere else in the city do people brush up so close to one another and yet so studiously ignore each other. I have always associated the underground with incredible intimacy among people, without them wanting to be intimate with each other, Wolfgang Tillmans explains. His sensual series of close-ups on the tube was first shown in an issue of The Big Issue that he was invited to guest edit.
However, it was Walker Evans who first using a concealed camera to photograph passengers on the New York subway between 1938–41. His portraits show people lost in private thoughts while aware of being in a very public place.
In the 1970s, Cindy Sherman took a different approach. Remembering characters she has seen on buses, she impersonated each in a series of studio self-portraits. She made no attempt to present this as a documentary project – staging is made evident in every picture by the presence of the shutter release lead.