...into the texture of life that comprises the cities of the world. The despair and hardship that intertwines the energy and fortunes of dynamic culture are graphically encapsulated. The portraits and people in this book represent a window into the soul of New York. Agou has compiled a illustration of real life and the book takes you through a range of settings that stir your emotions and compel you toward the next fantastic image.
I love the New York Subway so I was full of excitement at the prospect of obtaining a portfolio of B&W photos by this French photographer. I am a keen photographer of the subway. So.... Initially I was very disappointed. The photos seemed like grabbed shots rather than through observation. I was also struck by the darkness of the photos literally and metaphorically. Then as I got deeper into the pages I was drawn in to the darkness. The Subway transports people from all walks of life and Agou has captured this along with the lack of contact and indifference people seem to show when they are on the subway. It's like they are momentarily cocooned until they once again emerge at the street surface. They are more than grabbed shots. Note the shallow depth of field due to poor light availability and how despite this Agou focuses precisely on the key as if his model, which might be their eye or earing or stocking elastic. I am less keen on his pictures of electric wiring and people asleep on the ground even though he has tried to capture them in context of other people. They just don't seem to work as photos in their own right. IMO. Very observational account of everyday life on the subway. Love the picture of woman with bags on her lap and the repetitive bag handles.