Christopher Morris: How the New York Subway looked in the 1980s

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Christopher Morris - Subway, New York, 1981

Christopher Morris – Subway, New York, 1981

Published: January 21, 2015

Last updated:

A window on a long-gone New York

22-years-old at the time, Christopher Morris was working as an intern at photo agency Black Star and was determined to make something of himself as a photographer. According to the agency, the recently rediscovered photographs “provide a window on a long-gone New York, a metropolis that once pulsed with a very different energy—a frenetic, dangerous tone—than one feels in most of the city’s neighborhoods today. But even back then, as Morris’ pictures attest, Gotham remained always fascinating and, at times, disarmingly beautiful place.”

About Christopher Morris

Christopher Morris, based in Paris, was born in California in 1958 and began his career as a documentary conflict photographer working almost exclusively for TIME Magazine, where he has been on contract since 1990. He was credited with redefining political coverage in America during his years working at the White House for TIME Magazine from 2000 to 2009. Simultaneously to his career as a photojournalist, Morris has expanded his work into the fashion world.

Photos

Christopher Morris - A woman walks through a heavily graffitied subway car, 1981

Christopher Morris – A woman walks through a heavily graffitied subway car, 1981

Christopher Morris - Commuters wait for a train at 168th Street station in Manhattan, 1981

Christopher Morris – Commuters wait for a train at 168th Street station in Manhattan, 1981

Christopher Morris - A commuter reading, 1981

Christopher Morris – A commuter reading, 1981

Christopher Morris - A group of teens pose on the 6 train in the South Bronx, 1981

Christopher Morris – A group of teens pose on the 6 train in the South Bronx, 1981

Christopher Morris - A young teen tags a D train subway car window in a South Bronx train yard, 1981

Christopher Morris – A young teen tags a D train subway car window in a South Bronx train yard, 1981

Christopher Morris - Commuters ascend and descend stairwells during rush hour, 1981

Christopher Morris – Commuters ascend and descend stairwells during rush hour, 1981

Christopher Morris - A woman waits to board a train pulling into a station, 1981. Graffiti on the outside of subway cars was usually more elaborate than that inside

Christopher Morris – A woman waits to board a train pulling into a station, 1981. Graffiti on the outside of subway cars was usually more elaborate than that inside

Christopher Morris - A commuter walks by a poster for the musical Dreamgirls and a Keith Haring chalk drawing, 1981

Christopher Morris – A commuter walks by a poster for the musical Dreamgirls and a Keith Haring chalk drawing, 1981

Christopher Morris - Members of the Guardian Angels volunteer anti-crime patrolers, 1981

Christopher Morris – Members of the Guardian Angels volunteer anti-crime patrolers, 1981

Christopher Morris - A man is seen wearing headphones through a subway car window, 1981

Christopher Morris – A man is seen wearing headphones through a subway car window, 1981

Christopher Morris - A packed subway car during rush hour, 1981

Christopher Morris – A packed subway car during rush hour, 1981

Christopher Morris - A subway conductor exits the conductor’s cabin, 1981

Christopher Morris – A subway conductor exits the conductor’s cabin, 1981

Christopher Morris - A man about to board a subway car, 1981

Christopher Morris – A man about to board a subway car, 1981

Christopher Morris - Subway, New York, 1981

Christopher Morris – Subway, New York, 1981

Christopher Morris - Subway, New York, 1981

Christopher Morris – Subway, New York, 1981

Christopher Morris - Subway, New York, 1981

Christopher Morris – Subway, New York, 1981

All images by Christopher Morris unless otherwise noted.

 

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