Carolyn Drake

Carolyn Drake is an award winning documentary photographer.

I discovered her work via her project ‘Invisible Bus’ which is a series of photographs taken on a small bus in Birmingham, Alabama. The bus runs once a day and drops a small group of African American women off at the houses of wealthy families living in Mountain Brook. Most of the women were growing up during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and have ridden the bus ever since.


I found this series fascinating. I am very interested in the projects that tell the stories of people who would not perhaps otherwise have a voice. According to Drake, the women were fairly reluctant to be photographed and it took a few days for them to become relaxed in her presence.

There is a level of consistency throughout the series, all the photos are taken on the same bus, at a similar time of day. The lighting would suggest that they are taken shortly after sunrise.

One of the suggestions for our ‘Tales of Gloucestershire’ project was to take photographs on a bus or other public transport and so I think this series provides some good inspiration for a potential photo story.

I tried to find out what camera and lens Carolyn Drake used, it’s not stated on her website, so I took a chance and emailed her to ask. She got back to me within the hour and told me she used a Nikon D800E and a 50mm lens.



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