Passengers is a new book featuring photographs taken by John Schabel back in the mid-90s which, if taken today, could potentially get him in a lot of trouble.
Shot from the end of an airport runway using a 500mm reflex lens with a 2x teleconverter lens (giving him 1000mm zoom) without anyone’s permission, the eery and grainy images depict airplane passengers entirely wrapped up in their own thoughts before takeoff. Speaking to Wired, Schabel said: “It was a different time and there was not the same kind of suspicion of cameras… There wasn’t such a sensitively about the airport.”
The images in the book are scans of 8×10 prints Schabel made in the darkroom and have been meticulously curated by him and Jack Woody – the founder of publishing house Twin Palms – to make sure the final book turned out exactly the way they wanted. “I think viewers can identify with those situations and then bring their own feelings to it,” he says. To emphasising this, each photograph has been given its own page and there is almost no text, isolating the passengers from any context even further.
Passengers is available now from Twin Palms for $60 USD (approx. £38).