Pictures of people and their books: André Kertész’s “On Reading.”

I was very happy to find this waiting for me in the mail today:

André Kertész (1894-1985) was one of the most inventive, influential, and prolific photographers in the medium’s history. This small volume, first published in 1971, became one of his signature works. Taken between 1920 and 1970, these photographs capture people reading in many parts of the world. Readers in every conceivable place—on rooftops, in public parks, on crowded streets, waiting in the wings of the school play—are caught in a deeply personal, yet universal, moment. Kertész’s images celebrate the absorptive power and pleasure of this solitary activity and speak to readers everywhere.

I was surprised by the cover, which is different from the one that appears at the listing.  No complaints, though, as it’s gorgeous.

On the right you see one of the first pictures Kertész took – three boys sharing a book, taken when Kertész was just eighteen years old.  The one on the left is taken in Paris, at Bibliothèque de l’Institut, 1929.  Excellent stuff throughout.  An exhibit of his On Reading work is coming to Portland Museum of Art at the end of the month; I’ll report on it afterward.


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