Tuesday, July 24, 2012

inwardness and reading

I stumbled upon the Underground New York Public Library last week or the week before, I can't remember. Since then I've been thinking about how to share it here, with you. At first I was like, "wow, look at all these people in New York reading!" And that still amazes me. The photographs, though, really invite you into the lives of these New Yorkers. You see a young beautiful woman in a sleek dress and heels standing on a platform surrounded by strangers while secretly indulging in the adventures of new kindreds (or maybe the characters are strangers to her, too). Or wonder how a young black gentleman decided to pick up Nietczche. Or what this woman is discovering that keeps her from putting her book down even to walk through the station. I also wonder what the people around them -- the ones who aren't reading -- what they're thinking about. (And I LOVE that there are so few people on cell phones in any of these photos!)

Here's part of a statement from the photographer:

What I’m showing isn’t about reading or books, actually. I’m photographing inwardness... This means that I’m not just finding people with books on the subway and photographing them. I’m finding a connection with their inner worlds (and with those of the people around them too) and I’m photographing the event of it.

I find that the juxtaposition of inwardness in such a public, shared space is part of what's so fascinating about these photos. It says something, I think, about being able to locate and connect with yourself where ever you are, whomever you're with.

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