A U.K. artist is turning his secret portraits of train riders into recreations of classical artwork

U.K.-based photographer Matt Crabtree‘s latest project, 16th Century Tube Passengers, reimagines the despondent faces of subway riders as subjects of classical paintings. In fact, the whole creative process goes on during his underground ride: Crabtree surreptitiously snaps portraits of commuters on his phone, edits the photographs and then sends them out from the train.

There are nearly 30 portraits in the collection, with their blank, restless stares and subway occupations: headphones in, book or phone on lap. But the muted colors and simple framing of Crabtree’s shots give them the grace of classical paintings, and capture Crabtree’s interest in a “quietly observed, minimal story.”

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