Just like a canned sardine

Do you usually make the journey home-work-house public transport at rush hour? Then you will be familiar with the claustrophobic feeling that sometimes invades the train, subway or bus coaches. The equation is simple: Too many people for so few carriages equals a few squeezes and little breathing space, just like a canned sardine.

The situation gets more intense when we think of the Tokyo subway in full rush hour. With 286.2 km of length, the Tokyo metro has 13 lines that take the inhabitants of this giant metropolis from one end to the other in reduced time. It is the fifth largest subway in the world, following the network of Shanghai, Seoul, London and New York.

Photographer Michael Wolf wanted to capture the sensation of tinned sardines by taking a close look at the reality of the Japanese capital’s transport network. The photographer’s interest in this scenario goes back to 1995, after the infamous sarin gas attack on the city’s subway network. From there, Michael was fascinated with the resilience of those prisoners in a nightmare of claustrophobia in the tunnels of this system of transport superimposed on the maximum exponent.

The result of the photographic project can be seen in “Tokyo Compression”, with the artist describing the images as “a trip with a direct destination to hell”.

 

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