Tuesday, August 17, 2010
New images added to On Mobiles
I've added a few shots from New York to my On Mobiles project, which was originally inspired by André Kertész's book On Reading.
The subjects of Kertész's photographs are standing or seated in public places, or at least in public view, immersed in the printed words they hold before them. Although physically present, their minds are elsewhere, oblivious to their surroundings. His pictures were taken between 1915 and 1970, mostly in New York, but also in Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and elsewhere.
In 2010, in the streets of major cities the world over, reading has been overtaken by speaking. The book has been overtaken by the phone - private worlds are accessed by mobile.
Does this change signify anything? An image of someone reading suggests thoughtfulness and may even prompt musings on the nature of the human condition. The sight of someone with a phone clamped to their ear - although similarly disengaged from their immediate surroundings - suggests something more trivial. And much more annoying. Mobiles privatise public space. Streets are no longer places where citizens interact, merely paths on which we avoid each other whilst engaged in conversation with someone who isn't there.