About three months ago I started a new job in Santa Monica, CA. This meant that I had less time to shoot and a lot more time spent on the bus. I didn't want this to be a handicap to my photography and therefore I thought of a way to create something meaningful out of my daily commute. One afternoon to work, I stumbled upon a scene of a young man reading a book beside me. Much to my surprise I didn't think people actually read from print anymore aside from the older generation. I mean, we constantly hear of the collapse and impending doom of print publication. From world renowned newspapers to giant bookstores, this form of media is quickly vanishing from our daily lives due to the development of digital outlets. Let's face it, digital just seems to be the cheaper and more convenient way to publish and distribute information and entertainment.
What actually made the sight of a young man reading a book interesting was that at the opposite side of the bus, a young girl was also reading a book. Now, I quickly had that feeling inside of me to document such a hopeful sight, I mean to me this means that our future generation still sought out this tangible carrier of knowledge and information. I believed that my task as a street photographer was to take that photo and share it with the rest of the world, ironically through digital media. At the moment all I had with me was my HTC Windows Phone, yes I actually opted to get a Windows Phone instead of the much superior Iphone or Android.
After that incident, I had numerous encounters with people reading print media and I just had document them and create a simple set of images that would actually play an important role in today's society. I would simply like to impose the question: Is print media irrelevant to today's society? My take on it is that for now, print media is still technically a bit cheaper than it's digital counterpart only because devices have quite a price tag. Unless of course we reach the point where we live in a world where all cellphones and tablets become as common and cheap as a pen and paper. Until that day, I believe print media would still be the reasonable choice.
For this short project I drew inspiration from a photo-book entitled Andre Kertesz on Reading. That book showed photos of people reading while juxtaposed and/or aligned with a background or scene. My friend Eric Kim recently told me, "you know how they say you are what you eat, well I think your photographs are also as good as the ones you look at." My take on reading is that it is important today as it was back then. The only thing changing in our time is the surface from which we read or write.
My bus ride would usually take about an hour in the afternoon and thirty minutes late at night. I witness people do different things while on a long bus ride. They eat, sleep, talk, think and as I began to notice, even read. I saw an abundance of people who took that time to read either for information, pleasure or prayer. Also, culture had no significance and neither did age. Everyone still takes the time to read whether print or digital, I believe that as long as we do, people will remain competent and informed.