from The Guardian UK
The power of reading
Morrison on André Kertész’s photographic celebration of the joy of the written word
by Blake Morrison
Boy reading newspaper, New York, 1944 Photograph: The Estate of André Kertész/Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery
One of my favourite André Kertész photographs shows two young men sitting with their backs to a tree, each absorbed in a book. Both are wearing glasses; both use their thighs as a lectern; the one facing forwards is black, the other, in profile (a dead ringer for Woody Allen), is white. Their proximity suggests they know each other and are friends. And given the time and place of the composition, the photo could serve as an icon of the civil rights movement – racial harmony as observed in Washington Square, New York City, 1969. What’s equally striking, though, is how separate the two men are, how oblivious to each other’s presence (and to the camera). They might be friends but their real companions are their books.
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