The Unintended Subjects

A young couple got on the train at 137th Street. He had a roll of film in his hand, she had the camera. As we emerged into daylight and out of the tunnel at 134th Street, they were feverishly working on loading the film into the camera. We stopped at 125 Street, giving them a chance to spool the film in the camera while the train was still.

By the time we started moving, they got the film in and closed the door. She swiveled the camera in her lap, looking at the top to see if the film registered. As she rotated the camera, the shutter clapped and the flash illuminated me and the old gentleman beside me.

Surprised, the couple began laughing nervously. They looked to me and I began smiling too. People around us joined in the laughter in a rare communal emotional expression. I remarked, I wasn't even smiling.

A rare moment that brought us straphangers together.