Tube staff use art to brush up their image

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The Independent Online

Whether breaking bad news about delays on the Northern Line or smoothing out problems with faulty tickets, staff at London Underground sometimes have an unenviable job.

But a new display of photographs unveiled last night is designed to make you pay attention to the workers, who are often abused or assaulted.

In a collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery in east London, 13 volunteers from London Underground have created photographic self-portraits. They were inspired by the German painter Gerhard Richter, famous for 48 Portraits , a giant work portraying famous figures.

Working with the photographer Rose Butler, the staff used 35mm cameras to portray their daily lives and work on the Underground with the aim of encouraging passengers to view them as individuals and not just a uniform.

Liz O'Sullivan, head of Platform for Art, a London Underground unit dedicated to art and community art projects, said working with the Whitechapel had seemed an obvious move.

The results can now be seen on the walls of Aldgate East station, directly below the Whitechapel Gallery.

Cathy MacTaggart, duty station manager at Aldgate East, who took part, said: "Hopefully the project shows us as real people doing an important job."

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