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Wednesday, 18 January 2017


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Great book. I bought a copy in 2008 while I was working in Edinburgh (Scotland). One lunchtime I was out with my camera and came across a paramedic sat on the kerb reading a book next to hi motorbike. I took a photo and to this day I am still taking photographs of people reading. When I looked back in my archives I discovered that I had always been drawn (subconsciously) to this subject. So far I have published 5 zines of people reading, with more to come in the future - it's such a great subject!

Ha! I've read that! A very nice book, and it provides a nice slice of his technique across his career, as he went from one kind of technical limitation (early cameras) to another (lots of telephoto lenses).

One of my favorite photography books by Kertesz. Highly recommended. I've done my own interpretation of the subject as a small book too. It's a project I keep adding to as the years pass by, with a mix of people using traditional printed and electronic devices while reading.

Oh, that's a nice book. It must have been reprinted a few years ago--I bought a copy perhaps three or four years back, I forget where. Not my favorite Kertész, but nothing of his that I have seen is less than excellent.

I found the 1971 edition on a FREE book shelf in a Mexican book store and library just a couple of months ago. I have already enjoyed it several times and will enjoy again. Candid street photography with a central theme of people reading and often with lots of books in the shot. There are 63 photos with location and date and the pages are in sequence but the pages are not numbered. Excellent.

"A gem . . " - Ben Marks

What do you think of "On Reading" by Steve McCurry?

Dang it, Mike. Another book you've made me buy, to add to my already excessive collection. A classic I can't pass by.

It may not be entirely coincidental that Steve McCurry's latest photo book is 'Steve McCurry: On Reading'. On the one hand, it has McCurry's usual vivid colorful compositions and appealing Asian vignettes. On the other hand, it kind of has the feel of mining the archives, and placing his name first in the title makes the 'branding' overt. I love much of McCurry's work, but the recent mini-scandal about image manipulation makes me look at all of his images differently. You can't un-break the glass.

Tod Papageorge, changed Robert Capa's famous words on why your pictures aren't good enough to

"If your pictures are not good enough, you're not reading enough"

I'll get the book


I bought the reprint a few years ago as a treat to myself (at full retail, from an actual store!). It is one of my favourite photo books, even if it doesn't carry the cachet and heft of the more well-known examples in the genre: Kertesz took some wonderfully quiet, intimate shots of individuals, and occasionally even objects, in commune with their books. There's a charming story in the preface to the newer edition about his habit of distracting autograph hunters while surreptitiously shading in some of the brighter highlights in the original book with a pencil kept on his person for this purpose (they cheerfully note that digital production has obviated the need to supply a soft pencil with the new printing).
It's a great example of a simple, classic work that can be acquired for minimal outlay, and should be ahead of most other intended purchases in the field for that reason alone.

I just had to comment that Rodger Kingston's post is an example of why TOP remains such a delightful stop on my daily sojourns on the Internet. A wonderful story, giving insight into both Kertész and Mr. Kingston. How can you not absolutely love all the comments, stories, anecdotes, and thoughtful opinions that accompany Mike's posts? Thank you!

[Keeps me coming back. :-) --Mike]

Yes, this is a truly lovely little book! Robert Gurbo, Kertesz's assistant late in his life and now the curator or Kurtesz's estate, gave me a copy as a wonderful thank-you gift some years ago. Completely charming!

Beyond being just relaxing and enjoyable to walk through, "On Reading" is also an excellent example of how to assemble a small but effective thematic collection of images. These were images Kertesz took over 5 decades around the world, not as a manic project but as interest memos. I'll just bet that many TOP readers could mine their image libraries to extract similar monographic material!

I am delighted to see that it's being republished.

p.s. Love Roger's story! I hope Robert Gurbo reads it. He'll love it, too.

What a lovely story. Roger Kingston's I mean. Made my day. Thanks.

Just ordered a copy through your link at (with?) Amazon UK. It's temporarily out of stock, but I am in no hurry - in two months, it's going to be a birthday present for my eldest son, who writes book reviews for a living. Needless to say, I am looking forward to having a preview myself... Mike, thank you for bringing it to my attention!

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