Photo of the week: clowns on a train

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Another day, another peso, and home on the subway.  To be sure, riding the subway can be a good opportunity for people-watching — but it’s rarely a good photo opportunity. That is, until I decided to take the subway home from Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, and looked across the aisle.

It was a Sunday, and the park was full of children, so I guess it made sense there would be a clown or two performing. But still, it’s a surprise to find a family of clowns on a train, in their full clown costumes. These ones even had their son along, also in full clown kit (you can just see his hat in the photo).

The technicolour costumes made them stand out like Christmas lights in the dull surroundings of the subway car. But what made the scene truly memorable was the way the husband sat casually reading his paper, like any businessman on the way home from the office. I guess your working clothes are your working clothes, even if you’re wearing a Minions hat and a big red nose.

Some photographers insist on asking permission when they take someone’s picture. But I’m an old news photographer, experienced in catching life as it happens — and sneaking a shot on the quiet now and then. These folks might have posed if I asked, but I wouldn’t have caught this candid and totally incongruous photo of clowns on a train. I’ve shot many photos of city life over the years, but this has to be one of my favourites.

Hint: click on the photo to see more of their fetching costumes.

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Paul Marshman is a retired journalist who spent 30 years as a writer and editor on Canadian newspapers, while travelling to the ends of the earth. Now he continues to travel while passing on his travel experiences to you.

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