iPhone photography,
footage and
audio recordings
Before the pandemic I regularly travelled on the 390 bus. It cleaves between diverse districts the tube doesn’t reach. A moving performance space with the scenery and people changing as you travel through local neighbourhoods.
   The bus is slow and its seating configuration invites you, if you are so disposed, to study the backs of your fellow passengers’ heads. Lost in my own thoughts, I would occasionally do this: random strangers that I was sharing a moment with in time and space, with no knowledge of eachother’s identities or circumstances. 
These Back Portraits are not concerned with their subjects’ faces, only with the materiality of their physical presence, the backs of them. Their hair, the shape of their head, ears, clothes, the way they occupy their seat.   
   Our back view is the part of us we don’t see, and yet it is presented to others all around us. We cannot observe or even control this view of ourselves, and it is as unfamiliar to us as when we hear a recording of our voice.  

In these clips the subjects are talking and thinking. Again, their faces can’t be seen, but we catch pieces of their conversations amid the ambient sounds of the travelling bus and chatter of nearby passengers.
   Their words are a reminder of the messiness of natural speech in everyday life, unlike that of the sanitised scripted speech we have become accustomed to when viewing media content.
   Travelling on the bus is quieter than most other forms of public transport. But this requires the tacit compliance of its passengers, and can easily be shattered by disinhibited individuals who speak too loudly on their mobile or take a noisy exception to a fellow traveller.
   These are brief audio clips of just such incidents. On each occasion the bus was mid to full with passengers.