My earliest memory of the public transport system in London is from age four, when my father took me to see the last of the old tramcars (streetcars) before they went out of operation. I began photographing in London streets about eight years later, and the buses and underground trains were an obvious place to practice my style of candid photography.
Although I have lived now in Montana for over half my life, I return regularly to London and of course take my cameras along. Londoners are pretty oblivious to cameras and, although I never try to totally hide my actions, I have not yet encountered any angry subjects.
The buses and tube trains daily carry millions of travellers from every walk of life and frequently offer unintended interesting scenes. The cramped spaces and poor lighting present a challenge to the photographer, but they also bring strangers into close proximity, or friends can be seen to interact unselfconsciously or even humorously. I believe it is important to maintain and depict respect for the dignity of every human being.
When new, documentary images might appear mundane, but, as they age, and as evident from street photography from decades gone by, it is interesting and important to have a visual record of just what it was like to have been "there" in the city at some particular place in time.
- Alan McQuillan
McQuillan moved to Montana in 1971 after receiving a degree in economics in London. He shoots street photography in cities in the US and in Europe. Alan has received numerous awards in national and international competitions and in 2009 his street photography earned him the distinction of becoming an Associate of Britain's Royal Photographic Society.