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On Reading

4.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  97 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published September 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1971)
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Feb 13, 2011 Martyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: biblios, photoists, historiosos
I blush to add this to my list as the only words in the whole book appear on the jacket, but it is ABOUT reading!

Great collection of Kertesz B+W prints from across the world on the theme of reading. Mostly the shots are of people, but there are also some very clever set pieces to change the mood.

Check it out, it'll make you feel better - and not a Kindle to be seen anywhere, awesome.
David Allen
Aug 23, 2014 David Allen rated it liked it
This collects candid photos from 1915 to 1970 of people reading, usually in public, usually alone, on rooftops, park benches, front lawns and stoops, holding hardbacks, newspapers and magazines. Charming and impressive in its span of years and focus. I suppose today half the people would be on their phones or holding e-readers with quilted backs.
Fifty-eight pages of black-and-white photographs of people caught in the act of reading books and newspapers from 1915 to 1970, from Paris to New York City. Fun and quick.

A meditation on reading, as mentioned by Sven Birkerts in his fine collection of essays, Changing the Subject: Essays on the Mediated Self, published fall 2015.

On Reading celebrates a bygone era. In each photograph today, the mind can easily replace many of the books and newspapers with phones and tablets, and maybe a few book
Toni Apicelli
Feb 18, 2015 Toni Apicelli rated it it was amazing
I love these photographs. I highly recommend this book. Andre Kertesz is a master photographer who captures the quiet, contemplative mood of reading perfectly in this small book. Don't miss it.
Frederic Gleach
May 13, 2014 Frederic Gleach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography
A wonderful little collection of 63 photographs, taken between 1928 and 1970, of people reading (and a few other closely related subjects).
Dec 06, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Photos of books and people reading. Anywhere, anytime, all over the world, One of the most relaxing books I own.
Jan 18, 2016 Cristina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, photography
I wish I could write to André Kertész and say thank you for all the moments of delight.
Heather Hartley (Paris Editor, Tin House Magazine): Hungarian photographer André Kertész said that, “Seeing is not enough, you have to feel what you photograph,” and the stunning book of his black and white photographs, On Reading, attests to his sensitivity to and keen insight into his subjects: people reading in public places and sometimes private rooms. Daily life is captured in its intimacy, humanity and grit–from Paris to parks, from Tokyo to the tops of garbage bins and lots of places in b ...more
Jan 29, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing
Charming, sweet photographs!
Paul Secor
A treasure! No words - just dozens of wonderful André Kertész photographs of people of all ages and from all walks of life reading - in public and in the privacy of their homes, photographs of paintings showing people reading, photographs of books in homes with painted or sculpted figures looking down at the books, even a couple of photographs of animals and insects "reading" books.

Anyone who truly loves to read should have a copy of On Reading to look at and treasure.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Probably more like 3.5. I saw the exhibit of these photos which toured around to various American museums. The impact was much better in that form, but these are still interesting to look at. The introduction has a neat story about how André Kertész would carry a pencil around and tone down the highlights of some of the photos in the first edition of this book when he was asked to sign it.
Apr 08, 2011 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A small but brilliant collection of B&W photos originally published in 1971 on people from all walks of life doing nothing but reading. Each one is a stolen moment, capturing the reader lost in some book. Kertesz was little known at the time these photos were taken but received the attention due a truly great photographer following his death.
Innes Ferguson
Jan 27, 2012 Innes Ferguson rated it it was amazing
This is a short book but the content more than makes up for it. André Kertész is one of my all-time favourite photographers and this books showcases some of his best work. If you're into photography and into reading (aren't we all) I'm confident you'll find this book both inspiring and entertaining.
May 24, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In these eloquent photographs
Kertesz pays homage to reading-that most private
activity-as observed in public places.
Each photograph is a gentle yet passionate
celebration of readers and of the mesmerizing
powers of the written word."
Jan 28, 2009 Lesley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: other book lovers
I really enjoyed looking through the black and white photographs in the book! I especially liked the photos that included bookshelves full of books, and my favorites were of people reading in some special, tucked-away place. Charming book!
Satish Malnaik
Jan 26, 2013 Satish Malnaik rated it it was amazing
Great photo book for a laid back thoughtful evening browsing through classic images that bring about the power of intimate pictures that share your love of books and reading.
Feb 26, 2009 Tawny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pictures
Very cool! Contains black and white photos of a variety of people reading in every place and situation imaginable.
This lovely volume captures the power of reading, all without a single word. Thank you Bob K!
Phyllis Burstein, DePaul Art Education
Beautiful photography. A good starting point to show beginning art students how to explore a theme.
Aug 29, 2014 Redgie rated it it was amazing
Kertesz is one of my favorite photographers. Finding this book was like finding real treasure.
Jan 20, 2013 Alisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and deeply touching.
Raymond Bial
Raymond Bial rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2016
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Photographs of Readers 2 6 Mar 29, 2015 10:39AM  
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André Kertész (French: [kɛʁtɛs]; 2 July 1894 – 28 September 1985), born Kertész Andor, was a Hungarian-born photographer known for his groundbreaking contributions to photographic composition and the photo essay. In the early years of his career, his then-unorthodox camera angles and style prevented his work from gaining wider recognition. Kertész never felt that he had gained the worldwide recogn ...more
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