Humans & Subways
A Reflection in the window, Juliette Deriot shares her series on the mystery of public transportation and its passengers.
"I have always loved public transportation, especially the Parisian Métro. I can't really explain why. I like to look at all these people I meet without really meeting them. When I started an internship in a photo lab, I had a 25 minute ride on the same line. And since I am not the kind of person who is always absorbed in their smartphone, I observe everything that happens around me: the social interaction as well as the facial expressions of my fellow travellers.
I always carry a small film camera around my neck, a Pentax ME Super that I bought for five euros on the internet. One evening as I went home from the lab, I sat in front of a woman who looked worried, and I was fascinated by her facial expression. I had my camera around my neck, but I didn’t want to point it at her, and then I saw her reflection, clearly visible in the window next to her, so I took a picture of her reflection.
At that moment, I didn’t really know where I was going. The woman left, and then I looked around and understood that in the metro, people were natural. They didn’t put on their everyday-life mask. They let their minds wander, letting all their doubts and uncertainties take over, or day dreamed about something or someone they truly care about.
From then on, every person that sat in front of me became interesting, whether or not he or she expressed any emotion. What I also liked is that even if I take the metro at the same hours everyday, I always saw new faces. Taking pictures of them was a way to keep a souvenir of my ephemeral fellow metro-riders.
I liked to take pictures of people, but not staged studio shots, I like to photograph people on the spot, just living their life. I love urban areas and urban people. It is not really about where I live, but more about the place where I’m at on the moment. I do not really have an artistic direction in my mind, I take each day as it comes and then I adapt."
Juliette is a 20 year old photography student, born and raised in Paris’ suburbs, or the banlieue as it's called in French. Her town was labeled as a dormitory suburb. People live there because it is close enough to Paris so they can go work there during the day, and go back home in the evening to their families, but nothing really ever happens here. She saw the same people day in and day out for years, and with time it became suffocating for her. She is not really from an artistic background, but one day her parents bought a DSLR, which she quickly got her hands on it. At first she took really mundane pictures, as all beginners do, and then she started to take photography more seriously and actually learn all the technical stuff. She understood rapidly that it was something that she really enjoyed, and when she dropped out of university because it didn’t suit me, she naturally chose to pursue photographic studies.