This image, among others, was taken by journalists or random people during the Blitz* in London in 1940. Londoners resolved to flee underground into London subway stations in order to escape the bombings.
First, it is quite quirky to imagine that the people in this image are, for most of them, total strangers to one another ; that they come from different backgrounds, rich and poor alike, united in grief, fear, survival. It looks like they formed a village, where everybody has a place, a role. This scene conveys a strange sentiment of tranquility, that clashes quite violently with what is going on in the streets. Indeed, in the foreground, a woman appears to be profoundly asleep and at ease. Right behind her, is that man, sitting up, fixing the camera with a smile on face. What a contrast !
Moreover, the place appears to be immersed in a deafening silence that should surely contrast with the bombs detonations outside. A metro station also known in London as the tube… the perfect name for its shape. An infinite hole bathed in light but that ends in a dark hole ready to swallow anything, everything. Although there is a clock, it is impossible to read the time that therefore seems to be suspended.
This is a place where usually people are travelling from everywhere, from morning till night, going about their day to work or back home or to the supermarket and so on. Now it has become a refuge dedicated to those same people whose lives have been disrupted when the sky started falling on their heads and their homes became battlegrounds.
LIFE WILL OUT ! In other words, life goes on. That is the clearest message we can take away from this image. What ever the difficulties or dangers ahead, humanity, as we can see here, has an instinctive sense of preservation.
*German bombing of London during WWII