I really love travelling by train. It is a different experience to travelling in a car because I think you get a totally different perspective on the world. I tend not to read on trains but to listen to music with my headphones on and gaze out of the window as well as “people watch” the other passengers. The world always looks slightly different from a train in that you tend to pass through the slightly lost and forgotten areas, people’s back yards tend to face out onto the railway, nobody really makes any effort to make anything look attractive for the train traveller and as such you get a slice of reality. Travelling in a car you are always presented with the fronts of houses, the front gardens and the facade of shops and businesses – the train nearly always tends to run at the back. I always think that the backyards are much more authentic, much more genuine and interesting and reveal much more about the everyday lives of whoever lives or works there than the “front of house” as it is presented to the street.
The other thing that happens when you are travelling by train is that you get that sort of sense of detachment from the world that you get on a long haul flight for example. It’s much more acute on a plane as it can become very easy to lose track of where you are or what the time is, there is a sense of stepping out of the world for a little while and, in the case of the train, just becoming an observer on the world. As you pass over streets and houses and watch people on platforms and in their backyards as you flash by there is a certain type of magic in being detached from the bustle of everyday life.
Now I don’t want to dramatise or over romance this but things feel very similar to me when I am photographing a wedding! To a certain extent I am caught up with the hustle and bustle and chaos and my job (with a sense of the sort of serene detachment I was describing just now) is to capture this reality and make sense of it, create a story from it and, whilst still being genuine and authentic. I love weddings where I am priveliged to be accepted into the “backyard” – where I can photograph the real stuff, try make sense of it and tell the story.