In Pictures: A Window Into The World Of London Commuters

Ruth Hargreaves
By Ruth Hargreaves Last edited 19 months ago
In Pictures: A Window Into The World Of London Commuters

Londonist reader, Arnau Oriol, is a freelance photographer based in London. His 2013 project, Commuters, is a series of photographs that focus on train-travelling Londoners as they make their daily, early morning journey into the capital.

Arnau describes the thinking behind the series:

"I find the overground train the most enjoyable of the means of commuting. Unlike the underground, the windows offer a view to the city and space for reflecting, thinking and dreaming. To me, such moments are full of beauty and romanticism, and also melancholy. I like to think that these anonymous commuters, in their natural state of introspection, are unconsciously reacting against the mechanic, banal and routine act of commuting by going beyond it."

The photographs are all taken from a train platform as the train passes through, and Arnau's motivation for the series came from when he was a child.

"When I was a kid I used to take pictures with my eyes. I would see a moving car coming fast, and turning my head, I would follow the car direction and blink. For a few seconds, the frozen image of the driver would be retained in my brain. I took these portraits in this same way, this time using my camera".


All photos by Arnau Oriol.

Arnau is a freelance photographer and documentary filmmaker, based in London since 2008. Most of his photography work has been produced in the east end of London and he has worked on documentary projects for the Hackney Museum and Hackney Archives, who have supported part of his photography work in London.

Last Updated 27 October 2016

Corporate Photographer

great commuter images- it reminds me of the woody allen film where he is on the wrong train.


Reminds me some of the photography work by Chris Marker.



Double glazed eyes on the 5:35
Squinting through the glare of privatized glass,
Beholding carefully concealed worlds,
The rustle of white lace revealed –
The windows of widows
Quaint from the train,
Flower boxes and baskets,
Laundry on the line
In the pouring rain.
The smoking car packed
But nobody smiles.
Their lives rushing by
Semi detached.

Home to the throne
Grade II listed council estate,
His eyes on the windows
Looking for the soul.
Petals of the Barbara Cartland
Scattered on the path,
Crushed under brogues,
Wiped on the mat.
Deep fried comfort
Tonight for tea, again
Then East Enders at half 7.
His key in the door
Sigh and turn,
He steps into his palace.
Semi detached.

Down the pub, boys are laughing
Sipping pints anxiously,
Proving and preening.
Life's a boarding school -
Expensive and lonely.
Jockey for position
In the network of acquaintance.
Straightening the necktie
That chokes emotion,
Armed with history and charm,
And a stiff upper lip,
He says his bit
Semi detached.

Her wry smile belies
The 12 years in her glass
A manicured gaze
Owning all it surveys.
A foreign maid dusts
And waits for the signal
These possessions are tedious
Move to the country.
Up the gravel path
The sweep jars the scotch,
As hers drives up,
His pulls out -
A blond rides shotgun,
Flavour of the week,
Wife looks at husband
Semi detached.


Nothing unethical at all about taking pictures of people without their consent and monetising it.

Great work lad.