Tokyo Compression by Michael Wolf

I am a public transport user. I mean I live outside Lisbon and I have to travel every day to Lisbon’s riverside to get to work. I have to take a bus, the metro and then another bus to get there. And Lisbon is becoming a well know and great city to travel, discover and live. It as became a little overcrowded and the state is not helping these new people getting from one point of the city to another. In fact, they just cut cost in public transportation inside the city so that’s not going to change. In fact, is going to get worse. And I don’t complain much but in this matter, I have to.

I have claustrophobia, so stepping into a bus or metro that is overcrowded is not an easy thing for me. I rather wait an hour or so, so I have more room to take a breath.

Now to the point in all this talk and why I gave this introduction. This post is a representation of a nightmare for me. I get so anxious looking at this images that the last thing I did before publishing was placing them. I really felt uncomfortable.

Michael Wolf is a German artist and photographer living in Hong Kong and Paris, whose work documents life in big cities. His photo series, Tokyo Compression, focuses on overcrowding on public transport in the Japanese capital. (A city, by the way, I would love to visit and maybe live in, well… not anymore.)

During the rush hour in central Tokyo, subway passengers are routinely squeezed together – contorted, uncomfortable and even in pain – in a way that few in the West would ever countenance. Wolf’s intimate photos capture their misery by focusing in on the details of each face and each train window.

“This is not a dignified way of living,(…) It’s like looking into a ride in hell.”


Look at those poor people. LOOK AT THEM. What shocks me the most and makes me feel more uncomfortable, as if I couldn’t get more, is the humidity in the glass. DAMN. My body is tingling.

The series goes on show at Hong Kong’s Blue Lotus Gallery from April 20-May 13, and a new edition of the accompanying book – which leading photographer Martin Parr has called one of the most important photobooks of the decade – will be launched at the preview night. The exhibition will tour Europe later this year, starting during July’s Recontres Arles Photo Festival in Arles, France.

Which I AM SORRY Mr. Michael but I am not going to. Thanks.


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