Today I stumbled my way down to Chelsea Art gallery district to see in person this wonderful project by Reinier Gerritsen: The Last Book
The premise is that books in tactile form are disappearing and soon, this photographer believes that books in physical form will no longer be on the subway, only their souls and spirits in our Kindles, Iphones, and tablets.
So, in an effort to capture what would soon be lost, he spent a long time photographing New Yorkers doing what they do best on the Subway; reading, sleeping, zoning out with headphones, people watching, and pretending not to be listening to others conversations.
For more information on this project and what inspired this adventure: read this article.
However, reading this article and viewing the photos online does not do this project justice. Viewing them in large up close format, I could not help but be moved by these individuals.
Although this project is about books, it delve much deeper than that. You see the pain, the sadness, tiredness, happiness, and love of the individuals captured. I found myself staring at an individual imagining the emotion that was present on their face and making up life stories to go along with them. I often didn’t even look at the person primary captured and found myself searching each person’s eyes. I felt like I was privy to their souls.
I then, you see the books. Titles new and unfamiliar, old classics, books whose covers do match the person holding them. And you feel that you’ve been given a gift, and insight into their mind, their desires and dreams.
There is one particular photo that captures several books, someone with headphones, and some one reading on an ipad. And I thought, this project is such an amazing piece of history. In ten years we’ll look at this photo fondly remembering those types of technology and reminiscing on how primitive it all is.
The Julie Saul gallery also had several of Reinier Gerritsen’s books of photographs. As I thumbed through them I was captivated. He also did a project where he simply photographed people at the wall street subway stop. Breathtaking.
I also found another great surprise at the Gallery, Maria Kalman. More on her tomorrow.
Here’s to adventure!