Photographer Michael Wolf spent years documenting the world’s busiest travel system, capturing a claustrophobic nightmare endured by millions travelling across Japan’s capital.
Cian Traynor writes: The Odakyu Odawara Line carries one-and-a-half million people across Tokyo every single day.
It starts in the suburbs southwest of the city and stretches 82.5 kilometres to Shinjuku, the planet’s busiest train station, which holds a Guinness World Record for the average number of daily passengers: 3.64 million.
Photographer Michael Wolf first discovered the sheer scale of that phenomenon in 1995, when he reported on the sarin gas attacks across the city’s subway system for Stern magazine, and had an inkling that it was worth exploring.
“I took six photographs which, in the end, never made it into the story but I filed them away for future reference,” he says.
“In 2010, I had some time on my hands, took out the sheet with those six images and decided to revisit the station to see if I could make a project out of it.”… (read more)
“I was interested in creating a visual metaphor,” he says. “The negative effect that life in mega cities has on its inhabitants.”
Michael was born in Germany and now lives in Hong Kong. His parents gave him a camera at the age of 13 and he quickly fell in love with the process of editing in the darkroom.
One day, a friend of his father’s came to visit and complimented his work, suggesting he apply to study photography at the Folkwang School in Essen, Germany, with the renowned photographer Otto Steinert, who was a professor there. And so he did, kickstarting a remarkable journey in photography.
In the decades since, Michael’s work has been exhibited around the world and he has won first prize in the World Press Photo of the Year competition twice. … (read more)