This week we feature four photographic projects that attend to the topic of books and permanence. These artists diversely explore how the paper book is lent to considering the disappearance of lifeways, the degradation of material, the discarding of once-evocative objects, and their replacement with imperfect machines.
The Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen thinks about books and permanence in the subways of Beijing, Paris, London, and New York. Adding his vision to those of street photographers like Enrico Natali and Bruce Davidson, Gerritsen looks at the subway as a place both public and private. In his series “The Last Book,” riders lose themselves in the world of books while aboard packed underground trains. Gerritsen’s photos capture our transition away from paper books and towards e-readers and ipods.
Gerritsen sees the paper book as an endangered species, predicting that “the last book” will appear in the spring of 2016. Passengers neighboring the old-fashioned readers of paper books look across curiously, or with glazed eyes, at these dwindling objects. In true street photographic tradition, many also look straight at the photographer and silently interrogate his intentions.
Gerritsen is also interested in the books themselves, how they form a social map all their own. His captions list the author, title, and something of the plot, significance, or publishing history of the works. His statement reads:
About the artist
Reinier Gerritsen has been photographing figures in the public sphere for over twenty years now. His major start was in 1992, when he was awarded the prestigious Rijksmuseum-NRC assignment with Luuk Kramer, which resulted in a book and solo exhibition at Rijksmuseum. Beginning in 2005, he traveled to 25 countries to create the ambitious, documentary project called The Europeans. His previous monographs include Blinde verrassing (Fragment, 1993), award-winning Matti (2002) and Wall Street Stop (Hatje Cantz, 2010). Learn more about his work on his website, here.