Chris Marker: Passengers
Foreword by Peter Blum. Text by Chris Marker.
"Tabloids love to catch people unaware," writes the legendary film auteur Chris Marker (born 1921) in his introduction to this beautiful volume of new photographs. "My aim… is exactly—small wonder—the opposite of tabloids. I try to give them their best moment, often imperceptible in the stream of time, sometimes 1/50 of a second that makes them truer to their inner selves." Passengers accordingly portrays the private reveries and absent-minded gestures that can be seen every day on the Paris Métro (and by implication any other subway): mothers cradling their children, couples whispering intimately, women wistfully staring out the window or into the middle distance, engrossed in thought.
Made between 2008 and 2010, this series of 200 photographs—Marker's first in color—marvelously captures the dislocated mental spaces we occupy on the subway, and the ways in which we devise strategies for escapism, sending out invisible boundaries to endure the constant tiny encroachments of modern urban life. Marker enhances his photographs to draw out both the blotchy pixilation of the lo-fi digital technology used and to add painterly coloration, endowing them with otherworldly presence. A separate color poster by Marker titled "A Subway Quartet" is inserted beneath the printed glassine wrappers of each copy.