Photo Diary: Documenting BART Musicians

Peter Taylor started a project called BART Musicians a little over a year ago as part of a black and white darkroom class at Rayko Gallery, but the project has since grown to include incredibly compelling photographs of musicians who add to the soundtrack of our daily commute.

From Peter:

I though it would give me an interesting subject matter and allow me to grow as a portraitist. I thought I’d find a lot of the older, rougher, gnarled faces that i love to photograph and that was about it.

As i got further and further into the project, i became friends with a number of the musicians, realised that the reasons they are there, the types of music and walks of life they come from are all very diverse. Far more diverse than i’d expected. Some are homeless, trying to get money to get off the streets, and offer people something valueable in exchange for their donation. Some are students, just practicing in front of an audience, some are career musicians who don’t have day jobs, and use it to make ends meet between shows, and some are trying to spread a gospel of some sort.

The New York Times has just written about the city’s subway musicians, most of them aren’t known by name, but the most notable woman musician is actually actress Gabourey Sidibe’s mother. In San Francisco, some of the musicians are riders’ favorites, like a bluegrass duo at Montgomery Street Station that our Twitter followers have made inquiries about.

Peter identified some of the musicians but not all. If you have a clip of these musicians or know them, let us know. Meanwhile, here are more of Peter’s amazing portraits of BART musicians.


Check out the BART Musicians website to see more portraits of musicians at Muni/BART stations and help him identify more of the musicians he’s photographed.


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