Sunday, August 31, 2008


[Thoughts on an old essay in Today's Pictures, here.]

I love pictures of buses. I think there are subtle differences in modern photography between buses, trains, and cars. Cars are about a kind of freedom of the road -- individuality, usually, but sometimes selfishness or self-imposed isolation. Trains convey a feeling of industry and motion over long distances. Bus pictures are different. The bus signifies local concerns. Interactions on buses tend to be more mundane -- more personal (not in the sense of individual, but more in the sense of intimate, close to quotidian life, ordinary). Photos of bedraggled buses are interesting in much the way bedraggled people are interesting -- there's more texture.

I suppose the burning bus is the exception. But even then, a burning bus is shocking in part because it's such a rupture of everyday life.

At any rate, I'd rather ride a train than a bus, but I'd rather look at pictures of buses.