Street Photography Essay: “160 Yen” by Fabrizio Quagliuso

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

Eric’s Note: I am very pleased to share the work of Fabrizio Q on the blog this week. I met Fabrizio while I was in London, and saw his “160 Yen” series – a project he worked on while living in Tokyo. It is a strong project full of the idiosyncrasies of Japanese life– all jammed inside the Tokyo Yamanote Line. See more about Fabrizio and the project below. 

160 yen

Fabrizio: I have always been fascinated by the pulse of Tokyo life, by its pure, elemental energy, by how the city and its inhabitants embrace each other like partners in a dance: naturally, gracefully, in perfect unison.

In April 2010 I had the opportunity to spend a whole month in this great city. While I had been shooting in the streets there previously for photographic projects, this time I set off with a very precise purpose – documenting the countless aspects of Tokyo life by photographing commuters throughout the day.

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

Commuters live in a peculiar, fleeting condition. Suspended between places and physically intimately close but each in his own world, they are hypnotised by the rhythmic rattle of the rails, by the soulless voice of announcements or by their mobile phones, lost in thoughts in an eventless daily routine. Only occasionally a sparkle, a fragment of real life is revealed. I believe this is the essence of commuting and these are the stories I strived to capture.

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

Nothing better than the Tokyo Yamanote Line could fit my idea. The Yamanote Line is Tokyo’s busiest commuter rail line, looping around 29 stations and carrying over 3.5 million people per day. By simply staying on the line from the first train to the last, traveling round and round, as the day progressed I could experience the myriad facets of Tokyo’s life – each moment carrying a tale, a drama, a lie, a truth, a dream – unfolding before my eyes.

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

During the month, I spent an average of four to five hours per day “looping around” the Yamanote line circle and at the end of a long selection and editing process I ended up with the 70 photographs that made the final version of the project.

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

The title “160yen” comes from the price of the Yamanote line ticket.

“A circle is a line that never ends, until you find a reason to get off”

More photographs from “160 Yen”

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

Fabrizio Q Yamanote Line Tokyo

The  whole 160yen series is made of 70 photos – see the rest of the series here:

Also check out the Blurb book Fabrizio has made here:


Fabrizio was born in Italy. After graduating from university, he left Italy and currently lives in London (UK). Fabrizio has always been passionate about visual arts, and photography in particular. For the past five years he has totally devoted himself to street photography, a passion that stemmed from his natural curiosity and his fondness for observing life unfolding around him.

Fabrizio’s photographs and writings have been featured on numerous photography magazines in UK, Italy, Japan and China, prestigious online blogs and his “Shine on Japan” work has been exhibited in various events in London and in Italy and has participated to various charity activities.

Follow Fabrizio

What do you think about the concept and photos of Fabrizio’s project- and which of his photos are your favorite? Show him some love by leaving a comment below! 

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  • Alessandro Reginato

    clean and simple. love the title of the series! i really enjoyed scrolling through the pictures and a book will be for sure on the wishlist. thanks for sharing!

  • Mark

    I love these and I’m very much looking forward to seeing Fabrizio’s work exhibited soon.

  • Charlie Kirk

    What I find particularly impressive is that Fabu managed to get 70 shots in a month. That’s a very good hit rate. Well done.

  • George Smyth

    Very nice selection, thanks so much for sharing them.

  • Fabrizio

    Thank you so much for your comments, everyone.

    @Mark: see you next week at my exhibition in Ealing!
    @Charlie: Thank you! I had around 2000 photos to edit (in Eric’s sense of the term) taken over the period of a month and took more than 3 months and a lot of mental efforts to create a story of 70 photos… as you know, when you want to tell a story, one should not look for ‘the best’ photos but to photos that work well together and that convey what the photographer want to communicate/say ….

  • Dacoit

    Keep it up, Fabrizio – we enjoy the work for its own sake for inspiration.

    Same to you, Eric – love the work you keep bringing to our attention.

  • Kye

    Fantastic article and spectacular project.

  • Simon Wallerstedt

    Stunning! Love this!

  • Guest

    great title for the series!
    I really liked all of the images, loved the idea for the project!

  • Takeshi Garcia

    Impressive work.

  • lrntn

    Fantastic tribute to a most unique city. Especially love 1, 3, 4, 5 and last

  • DipayanBhattacharjee

    Love the title of the series… A very simple concept with some really strong images… My personal favorites would be the ones with one main subject and a lot of motion blur around…

  • Steven

    i love these. he fabrizio really captured the essence of 電車を乗ること in my opinion.