In the 1980s, the New York City subway was a gritty center for gangs and crime. The trains were covered with graffiti and being a passenger alone late at night was not recommended. But, in 1981, fearless young photographer Christopher Morris wasn’t deterred by the frequent violence and harsh conditions.
Only 22-years-old at the time, Morris was working as an intern at photo agency Black Star and was determined to make something of himself as a photographer. So, without hesitation, he ventured underground to document the NYC experiences through his lens. This captivating series depicts the poorly lit cars, the dirty windows, and the overall decrepit conditions of New York’s underground transportation.
Today, the award-winning photojournalist is also a contract photographer for TIME. According to the agency, the recently rediscovered photographs “provide a window on a long-gone New York, a metropolis that once pulsed with a very different energy—a frenetic, dangerous tone—than one feels in most of the city’s neighborhoods today. But even back then, as Morris’ pictures attest, Gotham remained an always fascinating and, at times, disarmingly beautiful place.”