Street Focus 74: Sleeping Commuters with Michael Rammell

[smart_track_player url=”″ title= “Sleeping Commuters with Michael Rammell” artist=”Street Focus 74″ ] Street Focus 74: Sleeping Commuters with Michael Rammell

We often talk about the importance of personal projects on this show and making the time to go out with the camera every day. Today my guest is UK photographer Michael Rammell. He embarked on a photographic journey during his daily commute to work and photographs sleeping commuters. In this episode we talk about his projects, the idea behind it and how much he’s learned so far.

Michael Rammell

Who is Michael Rammell?

I'm based in Virginia Water in Surrey (UK), about 40 minutes from Central London, between Ascot and Windsor. My earliest significant memory of photography was shooting 40 rolls of film at Disneyland Paris on a point-and-shoot style camera that auto-wound itself after each exposure. To this day I couldn't tell you what the camera was. All I knew was that it was Kodak film. After that I didn't do any photography for years until I saved up my money from my first ever weekend job and bought myself a Sony Cybershot. I had that for some time before moving onto a Sony NEX-5 and then I moved into the world of Canon DSLR’s. My equipment list grew over time and I became engrossed and addicted to the world of photography and picture-making. I've now ditched the Canon DSLR and shoot exclusively with Olympus OM-D Cameras. I'm now a very busy Wedding Photographer and will fit as much street photography in as much as I can around time at home with my wonderful wife and two lovely children.




  1. Thanks for having me on the show Valerie, as always it was great fun to catchup and talk about photography projects. Hopefully we’ll get to meet during 2016. Keep up the great work with Street Focus – I’m already looking forward to episode 75!

    1. Great project Michael! I experiment with taking iPhone photos, but I’ve found that the standard camera app tends to choose a rather slow shutter speed (eg 8th, 15th, 30th) in low light. I use an app named, “ProCam,” which allows you to take some manual control. ProCam also enables the use of a histogram and tiff files. Additionaly, I noticed that processing iPhone photos in Lightroom (rather than in iPhone apps), tends to result in more sharpness, detail, and overall control of the overall look of the final image. Do you use any manual control apps or serious editing tools in your iphone photos? Thanks and keep up the good work!

    2. Hi Velo,

      My tapping and increasing the brightness it chooses a slightly faster shutter. I have processed a few in Lightroom, but when it comes to this project it’s all about ease of sharing and so editing in Snapseed and sharing instantly is the way to go for me, that’s what makes this project so feasible for me, it’s not a drain on any time at all.

      There are more camera apps than I know about, but being able to swipe up from the bottom of my phone when the screen is locked is part of what makes the standard camera all my go-to choice.

    3. Cool, I’ll give the standard exposure comp a try! I would have thought it would give a lower shutter speed and higher iso. Time savings is def a valid point…makes shooting more fun too! Btw, pro cam is also available from the lock screen, by swiping down in the notifications area. However, you’d need to still enter your unlock password. Thanks!

  2. Interesting show and project. I really enjoyed listening to this show and the creative idea about Michael’s personal project.

  3. As a photographer who understands the concept of lack of privacy in public places, I think the project is interesting. As a commuter who often sleeps during my train trips, I expect I’d be fairly angry if an image of me were to pop up on-line somewhere.

    In most street photography, at least those people who don’t hide and shoot with very long lenses, there is a possibility of being seen. To me that differentiates that work and it gives the subject an opportunity to make their feelings known. If someone indicates to me, and I don’t shoot street often, that they don’t want to be photographed, I won’t or I will delete images after. These people do not have that opportunity unless they happen to wake up while you are photographing.

    1. Thank you for your feedback Mark, I understand your view point. I certainly do not encourage anyone to photograph people in vulnerable (the homeless for example) or embarrassing situations (people who are clearly ridiculed) and I teach respect as the number one rule in street photography. Everyone will see this differently of course. I don’t think that any of those commuters were photographed in embarrassing positions, caught drooling, etc.

      Also, when I photograph people on the streets, 95% of the time they have no idea they are being photographed, although I don’t try to hide and I shoot at 23mm. I have no problem explaining what I’m doing when, on occasion, they notice me. I don’t think that’s very different than what Michael is doing on this project. It’s the street photographer’s job to stay invisible, even up close, in order to immortalize a moment without altering it. Once the photographer gets noticed, the moment is ruined.