The Phoenix Railway Photographic Circle / W_Hobson_1
Exhibition: The Human Element

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Wyn Hobson

Subject :

An empty Class 108 diesel multiple-unit arrives in Platform 7 at Crewe station to form the 11.35 stopping-train for Shrewsbury , at 11.34 a.m. on 29 th December 1988 .


Notwithstanding over half a century of gradual rationalisation, Crewe is a station whose architecture and infrastructure provide particularly rich opportunities for interesting compositions and juxtapositions involving the trains, particularly in low winter or early morning light. Like many of the best railway photographs, this was a case of snatching an opportunity: as the train slowly approached, I saw the possibilities presented by the presence and positions of the waiting passengers, and the contre-jour lighting from a slightly hazy sky (brighter sunlight might have created excessively heavy contrast for the subtler human details to be visible). Fortunately, I was standing in the right place at the right moment, with the camera already round my neck.


Technical details:

Estimated train speed: 5 m.p.h.

Light: Hazy bright

Camera: Pentax Spotmatic II

Lens: Asahi SMC Takumar 1:1.8 55mm

Film: Kodak Plus–X black-and-white negative

Film size: 35mm

Exposure: 1/125 @ f11

Film developer: Kodak D76 diluted 1:1

W. Hobson 1

Very nice contre-jour work, the rim-lighting to the woman in front of the 108 being especially effective. To tighten up the composition, I would chop off the chap on the right completely. ( Antony Guppy)

The shot is excellent. Leave all folks as they are, but chop most of the post/support to 'border' the LHS. (Ian McDonald)

A station scene 'par excellence'. Lighting is superb, as is the darkroom work. Good entry. ( Kevin Lane)

Best in the box as it passes me. Refreshingly different. (Michael J. Collins)

Quite excellent. That halo effect on the girl's hair draws your eye straight away. (Andrew Taylor)

A fascinating living scene. You have done well to retain detail in the shadow area as well as in the highlights. The textured platform surface is useful. (Paul Shannon)

A perfect rendition of the busy station -- excellent. (Michael Rhodes)


Lovely study of waiting passengers witha 70s feel which comes shining through. No crits (Bob Avery)


Fine composition. Light halo on girl's hair makes her stand out from unit's front. (Ian Cowley)


Very nicely composed. The contre jour lighting is well handled and it gives some pleasant rim lighting to the figures (David Flitcroft)


High heels, a bobble hat and post trolleys. The train is perfectly positioned; prominent but not over-dominant. I particularly like the conversation obviously taking place between the lady and the child. (Martin Higginson)


Backlighting again! works brilliantly. The expectation of the arriving train! (Jonathan Cordle)