Daylight Books: Ed Hotchkiss: Station to Station

“Ultimately, Ed Hotchkiss is a master at conjuring up the invigorating interweaving of storytelling that encompasses the seething world of the underground city.” —Lawrence Westchler

New York’s subway system transports many of the more than 8 million residents from here to there, and photographer Ed Hotchkiss has traveled each line, criss-crossing the city and its neighborhoods, discovering and noticing. The subway cars collect and hold for a limited time a group of seemingly random people, all with their own lives, hopes, and plans, and who each scatter and disappear as they exit the train. This setting offers a unique opportunity to observe the vast spectrum of humanity that represents New York. These images reflect the value Ed saw in what he found.

Working to be as unobtrusive as possible, Ed wore unassuming clothes, held a newspaper and pretended to read it, all while glancing furtively, holding his camera to his hip and often using a cable release to be as unobtrusive. as possible. . The resulting collection is made up of candid and captured images, found expressions and authentic examples of people as people.

The black and white collection shows people on trains, on subway platforms, looking out of windows, and the world Ed observes as he travels. He rode the lines on weekends and evenings after work. The project began as a study in street photography and evolved over 15 years, culminating in this book.

In his essay, he talks about the evocative inner exchange that sometimes awakened a memory of his own life or sparked contemplation of someone’s story. In this way, the project takes on a different sense of collaboration – a gesture from an unassuming train conductor triggers a memory or a thought in Hotchkiss, and some sort of connection has been established.

“Taking the 1 train to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and watching the camaraderie of cricketers reminds me of my childhood softball games in Denver. I started interpreting stories from seemingly insignificant details – the laugh lines around someone’s mouth, a defiant attitude or the spring in someone’s step.

This capacity for observation and reflection translates throughout the photographs and invites the viewer to engage deeply in the same kind of wonder. He travels through New York’s five boroughs and calculates that there are approximately 50 different and diverse neighborhoods in each.

He shared with essayist Lawrence Weschler that, “…on the subway, that’s how I join them all, it’s really a melting pot – the whole world in a microcosm, all the communities jostling and jostling over each other, like, by and large peacefully, they just go on with their days. And being able to observe that in turn is one of the things that continues to draw me there.

Weschler notes that Ed is also a world traveler who strives to feel the essence of the land, people, personality and culture of the places he visits. This long-term project on his native land reflects this commitment to discovering what a place is and avoiding assumptions. His images also show an appreciation for people, elevating the mundane to points of reflection and connection. “…Ed’s interest in people was never just individual: he was always interested in the dance between people and groups of people and groups of groups,” shares Weschler.

About the photographer:
Ed Hotchkiss has traveled to six continents, over 100 countries and every US state. He specializes in photographing street life, urban and natural landscapes, musical events and night scenes. His ongoing chronicles of his international travels and experiences in New York can be viewed on his blog,

About the contributor:
Lawrence Weschler is an award-winning writer who has helped The New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, McSweeney and The believer.

About the editor:
Daylight is a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing art and photography books. By exploring the documentary mode as well as the more conceptual concerns of fine art, Daylight’s unique collectible publications strive to revitalize the relationship between art, photography and the world at large. For more information, visit

Book Details:

Explore the New York City Subway
Pictures and Words by Ed Hotchkiss
Preface by Lawrence Westchler
Published by Daylight Books
ISBN-13: 9781954119093
112 pages; 74 black and white photographs
8.5 x 11 inches

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