‘The Last Book’ – Reinier Gerritsen portraits reading people in the subway in New York City

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gerritsen-lastbook-2014Reinier Gerritsen
The Last Book

Aperture, oktober 2014
Hardcover, 240 pagina’s, 24 x 17 cm
ISBN 9781597112703, verkoopprijs € 52,99 (bol)

The world – and the word – is in the process of becoming less and less dependent on paper. Our reading habits, especially as they occur in public spaces, are subtly shifting each day.

This is the premise of The Last Book, the latest body of work by Amsterdam-based photographer Reinier Gerritsen.

Gerritsen has taken up the current plethora of books and their readers on New York City’s subways as the proverbial canary-in-the-coal-mine, an indicator of the still-robust nature of public readership, in the face of its ostensible decline.


The work began for Gerritsen as a series of modest observations, and has turned into a series of unexpected, documentary portraits, set against a visual landscape of best sellers, classics, romance novels, detective thrillers, Bibles, biographies, and other printed books. Gerritsen depicts groups of individuals engrossed in the worlds they hold in their hands, bringing together a social portrait of readers.


From the subtle interactions of passengers and facial expressions to the sociological clues of book titles, a complexly layered narrative is informed by the choices of readers and the mélange of New York City’s subway riders as they are transported both literally and figuratively, by the books in their hands.


– The book is divided in 4 different parts. It contains pages with panorama photo’s in color. Then there is an archive with black and white photo’s with information about the book that the person is reading. In the back of the book there is an index were you can find even more information about all the books. And then there is a text essay by Boris Kachka on the matter of the possibility of the extinction of the physical paper book.

Reinier Gerritsen (born in Amsterdam, 1950) has been photographing figures in the public sphere for over twenty years now. website

Boris Kachka is a Brooklyn-based author who writes about books, publishing, and culture. He is a contributing editor at New York magazine and author of the widely reviewed and praised Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2013).

In deze video van uitgever Aperture vertelt Reinier Gerritsen over dit boek en zijn manier van werken. (bron)



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