Reading in Public: Joliet, 2015

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It's been a year and a half since I last posted to my Reading in Public series, and have never posted one of my own photographs there, so I am doubly pleased to now share this image that I captured this morning. This was taken at Union Station in Joliet, on the new Rock Island District platform. I love how focused this gentleman was on his book, so much so that not even the gorgeous sunrise could distract him.

September 24, 2015 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (2)

Reading in Public: Chicago, 1964

Reading

It's been a long time since I updated my "Reading in Public" series (almost a year and a half now) so when this wonderful photograph came up on Calumet 421, I just had to add it. The photo was taken by Jay King on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, in 1964. Not only is this gentleman reading in public, but he's so engrossed by the book that not even walking can distract him; based on the posture of the couple behind him, it appears that he's standing on a corner, probably waiting for the walk light. I certainly hope he looked both ways before returning to his reading. And I wish I could tell which book this was.

February 24, 2014 in Books, Chicago Observations, Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading in Public: London, 1910

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I'm adding this image to my long-neglected Reading In Public index, even though these people aren't reading. But they undoubtedly began to read shortly after this image was taken, maybe even while walking home. I love the controlled chaos of this scene, as the customers are literally walking on the books that they're about to buy - and even the proprietor can't resist perusing one of his own books. The photograph (of the Caledonian Road market, in 1910) is part of a wonderful post at Spitalfields Life which presents a collection of old photos of London street markets.

September 28, 2012 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading in Public, New York City, year unknown

Forward

Photograph from the archives of The Forward newspaper. I haven't posted one of these "Reading in Public" photos for a very long time, and thought this memorable image would be a great way to dive back in. I now hope to revive this series.

(Via Stephany Aulenback.)

February 13, 2012 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading in Public: Washington, D.C., 1920

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Here's a real charmer. Looks like the lad has been rudely interrupted and wants to resume his reading, though he's being polite about it. Washington, D.C., circa 1920, by an unidentified photographer of the National Photo Company. (Full photographic record here.)

(Reading in Public series is indexed here.)

May 10, 2008 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading in Public: Adirondack Mountains, New York, 1888

Adirondack


As I curate this little series, I continue to struggle to find old photographs that match my original premise as perfectly as the first one did. For the last few I had to resort to images of newspaper readers, and while for this one I'm back to books, this gentleman is clearly not in public but at home. But still I really like this photograph, both aesthetically and for the concentrated intensity with which he's reading his book. I've never read by firelight myself, but assume it's not at all easy, which lends further credence to his passion for the written word. Good for him. Photograph by S.R. Stoddard. (Full photographic record here.)

(Reading in Public series is indexed here.)

April 20, 2008 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading in Public: San Francisco, 1941

Sanfran


Another newspaper reader, this one aboard a San Francisco streetcar in December 1941. (They just don't print headlines like that anymore, not even in the New York Post.) Photograph by John Collier for the Farm Security Adminstration/Office of War Information. (Full photographic record here.)

(Reading in Public series is indexed here.)

March 1, 2008 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading in Public: Sarasota, 1941

Sarasota1941a


Installment three in this periodic series. I'm having a bit of trouble lately finding archival photographs of people reading books, so I'm taking a slight detour into people reading newspapers. This one was taken by Marion Post Wolcott in Sarasota, Florida in 1941, for the Farm Security Administration. (Full photographic record here.)

(Reading in Public series is indexed here.)

February 23, 2008 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reading in Public

Missgilbert_2


Another image in this sporadic series. This one is by an anonymous photographer from the Chicago Daily News, of "Miss Genevieve Gilbert" in Chicago, 1908. (Full photographic record here.) From the ever-fascinating Chicago Daily News archive at the Library of Congress.

(Reading in Public series is indexed here.)

February 10, 2008 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (1)

Reading in Public

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I'm a huge fan of both literature and documentary photography. While riding my commuter train or walking around the city, I'm often struck by the sight of people indulging in the very private act of reading right in the midst of prying-eye hordes. So absorbed are they that the outside world is completely blocked off as they let the magical words take them away. Holing up with a book in some private corner somewhere is one thing, but for me the joy of reading is best illustrated by people willing to do so in public.

That said, I'm going to run a periodic series of photographs here depicting people reading in public. (I'm leaving that as "periodic" - weekly or even monthly series that I've run here haven't fared very well, especially lately. So I'll post new photos as I come across them, but not on a fixed schedule.) The photo above is by John Vachon, taken for the Farm Security Administration in Chicago, in July 1940.

In launching this series, I have to give credit to Julie Wilson, whose Toronto-based blog Seen Reading does much the same thing, only with real people she observes in that city. She notes the book her subject is reading, then posts an excerpt from the approximate point in the text where the reader was at that moment, then writes an imaginative piece of related fiction after that. It's a fascinating creative concept she's come up with, one which I've been enjoying for the past several years.

(Reading in Public series is indexed here.)
(Photo via Shorpy.)

February 2, 2008 in Reading in Public | Permalink | Comments (2)