October 15, 2011

Pictures of New York Subway in the 1980s

Bruce Davidson's groundbreaking Subway, first published by Aperture in 1986, has garnered critical acclaim both as a documentation of a unique moment in the cultural fabric of New York City and for its phenomenal use of extremes of color and shadow set against flash-lit skin.

In Davidson's own words, the people in the subway, their flesh juxtaposed against the graffiti, the penetrating effect of the strobe light itself, and even the hollow darkness of the tunnels, inspired an aesthetic that goes unnoticed by passengers who are trapped underground, hiding behind masks and closed off from each other.

These vintage photos transport the viewer through a landscape at times menacing, and at other times lyrical and soulful. The images present the full gamut of New Yorkers, from weary straphangers and languorous ladies in summer dresses to stalking predators and homeless persons.

(Photos © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos)


  1. Really amazing pictures well researched and a glimpse at what the subway was like 30 years ago. I kept expecting the 'Warriors' to jump out if you remember the film.

  2. I was hoping for pictures of the present to compare to the 80's. Is it worse now? Better? What?

  3. It was never worse than then.

  4. Genuinely amazing pictures effectively explored plus a view at just what the train was just like Thirty years previously. My spouse and i held planning on the particular 'Warriors' to leap out in the event you can remember the movie.



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