Muni Photographer Brian Brooks: Full of Stories

Photo by Brian Brooks

Photographer Brian Brooks has been a regular contributor to Muni Diaries almost since the beginning. We love his black and white photos like this glimmering F car we featured in a weekend photo post. We caught up with him to talk about what inspires him to photograph public transit.

How did you get into photography?

I’m a transplant(circa 1994) from New Jersey and loved photography from an early age. My first job was at a 1-hour lab. A great way to learn about photography is through trial and error, working a lab where resources are unlimited is very helpful. I’m mostly self-taught with a few college classes here and there. I shoot about 40 percent analog and 60 percent digital.

What is it about Muni that inspires you to take photos there?

It’s where most San Franciscans can be seen. It’s also great because people are standing still, which gives you more time to focus on them. One of the most memorable moments was when a fare inspector ripped a transfer from my wife’s hand and I shot a photo of the interaction. It had expired while waiting on the platform for a late train.

How do you get a good picture on the bus?

I almost never ask people if I can take their photograph.) The few times I’ve asked while riding Muni they’ve always said, “No.” I can still see those photographs in my head. If you’re in the public space, you’re fair game.

What’s your line?

I’m more of a train person so the N-Judah is my line. Every time I ride Muni I can tell a story about it.

Check out more of Brian’s Muni photos on Flickr. Got Muni photos yourself? Join our Muni Photos Flickr pool.

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