In every major city in the world, there is one cultural phenomenon that is sure to be pretty hellish: the daily commute. British filmmaker and photographer Lester Jones pinpointed this universal upset touring from London, Seoul, Sydney, Hong Kong and Melbourne to document the often tiresome experience.
Originally from London, the now Sydney-based photographer has been commissioned by the likes of Highsnobiety, Reebok, Warner Music, Nike and New Balance in his commercial work. Equally dedicated to his personal work, Lester’s latest project Their Grind Not Mine is now available as a limited edition, 24-page zine chronicling the intimate nature of the international commute.
Captured over three years, Lester’s first photography project in print connects viewers worldwide in a mutual disregard for the often arduous, tedious and all round annoying daily commute. Candid and unstaged, Lester tells It’s Nice That on the project: “The work offers moments of real human connection and reflection. It examines the psychological impact of commuting, which is something all-too-often steeped in fatigue, anxiety, misery and even at times, despair.”
But although it may seem like a gloomy portrayal of the inevitable event that is commuting, Their Grind Not Mine is actually a project set to inspire positive reflection. Through the sultry, cinematic imagery, the photographer not only asks us to empathise with the subjects, but also to examine the human state through the commute; questioning if this is what we really want to be.
Combining elements of both documentary photography with portraiture and street photography, Lester offers up a snapshot poignant expression in each photograph. And whether it’s a face of exhaustion or ambivalence, the series challenges the viewer to look at the work through a voyeuristic gaze, or by comparison, to feel apart of it? Or maybe even both?
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