"Every day I travelled to King's Cross and back. Coming home late at night, it was like a party and I felt like the tube was mine and I was there to take the pictures." - Bob Mazzer.
Bob Mazzer is a social documentary photographer born in Whitechapel, East London. In the 1970s and 80s, he worked as a projectionist in a porn cinema called 'The Office Cinema' (“so guys could call their wives and say, 'I'm still at the office'”). Late at night on his way home from work, Mazzer began photographing London commuters as they journeyed through the capital's network of tunnels. Unseen for many years, this social history amassed over four decades offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Londoners in pictures alive with humour and humanity.
Bob Mazzer received his first camera as a Bar Mitzvah gift at 13 years old; an Ilford Sporty he called “a crap little camera of plastic and tin”. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, he used a 35mm Leica M4, creating highly textured, grainy shots marked by a unique colour and tonality. As Mazzer says, he is a 'diarist photographer', taking intimate shots of people he finds interesting as a way of recording his day.
With his own unique perspective, Mazzer captured a time that many living in London will remember, but the younger generation will have never known. This nostalgic insight documents a time when you could still smoke on your morning commute, before the smoking ban on the London Underground in 1987. In a time when the floors were still wooden, late night revellers carry glasses of beer as buskers and musicians perform in shadowy corners. The inside of the carriages reveal London's changing times, capturing a moment when the original infrastructure that had not been changed for fifty years was about to modernise. Mazzer captures the subcultures, fashion and diversity of London life; the 1980s punks and rockers in studded leather jackets, couples in love, the mad, the lonely and the dispossessed. These anonymous photos are at the same time tender and tough, captivating the viewer with a myriad of poetic moments. The anonymous people Mazzer engaged with now engage the viewer, offering captivating shots of the human condition.
Bob Mazzer's debut exhibition entitled Underground opened at Howard Griffin Gallery on 12 June 2014 and ran until 13 July 2014.
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