The Beautiful Act of Reading

The Guardian and Poets and Writers have each published photo articles on reading as an art form. Victoria Reichelt turns people’s book collections into vivid oil paintings, and André Kertész’s photos capture the quiet yet earth-shattering moment of sifting through text.

From Poets and Writers Online | Multimedia, Victoria Reichelt’s Bookshelf Paintings:

Inspired by the idea that bookshelves offer a glimpse into their owner’s personal life and interests, last year Australian artist Victoria Reichelt undertook a series of oil-on-canvas paintings based on photographs of random shelves and collections of books.

Almost French, oil on canvas, 2008, 44 x 44 cm:

Almost French, oil on canvas, 2008, 44 x 44 cm

“With the invention of printing techniques that enabled the mass reproduction of books in the 19th century, came a desire for people to collect and display books. Decisions people make about the books they chose to buy, keep and display reveal a considerable amount about them… See and read more

In “The Power of Reading” by Blake Morrison from The Guardian’s Art | Photography, published 23, July 2009

Boy reading newspaper, New York, 1944
Boy reading newspaper, New York, 1944 Photograph: The Estate of André Kertész/Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

The Budapest-born Kertész enjoyed a long life (1894-1985), visited many countries and was involved in several different artistic movements. But wherever he went and whatever the commission, a constant preoccupation was with people reading. In one of his earliest and most moving images, three small boys (two of them barefoot) crouch over a book in a Hungarian street in 1915; in one of the last, a young woman stands reading in the shadow of a vast Henry Moore statue. Ferocious concentration is common to both. The act of reading involves no action, beyond turning the page. But the mental activity is intense, and it’s this that fascinates Kertész… See  & read more

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