Skip to content

“The Last Book” project: taking photos of people reading on the subway


Featured Products

Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen has ridden the New York City subway system over the course of three years in order to capture portrait photos of people reading books and to document the books that they are reading for “The Last Book” photo project.

Photographers are developing their skills by creating special image projects with a clear subject in mind. Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen is the author of numerous projects, but one stands out because it is very different from anything else.

It is called “The Last Book” and it consists of portraits of people reading books while riding the New York City subway system. The artist is also documenting the books that they are reading as a testimony to the world’s cultural and preference diversity.

Photographer rode the subway for three years to document the books people were reading

E-book readers, smartphones, and tablets are replacing physical books. People prefer to keep thousands of books inside a single device. However, you cannot be sure whether people are reading or doing something else on their devices. It is hard to ask them what they are doing without making yourself look like a creep. In the age of physical books, it was easier to start a conversation with a stranger about books and to give or to receive recommendations.

Photographer Reinier Gerritsen says that he wants to document a “beautiful phenomenon that is vanishing” in the era of mobile devices: reading physical books while riding the subway.

The artist has ridden the New York City metro for 13 weeks spread across a period of three years. He has used this time in order to capture portraits of people reading physical books and to document the diversity of their books.

He has compiled the photos in a special project that is called “The Last Book” and which has been exhibited at the Julie Saul Gallery in recent weeks.

“The Last Book” photo project shows how diverse people really are

In a world where everybody tells you to be different because everyone else is a copy of someone else, the photographer has noticed just how different we are and that we do not even realize it.

Reinier Gerritsen’s project consists of hundreds of photos. The artist has documented the books by the last name of their authors. He says that he has been surprised by the diversity and that he believes that each book speaks about the personality of the reader. As the books are so diverse, so are the people reading them.

The photographer has also had something to say about his method of taking photos. He says that he has not asked the readers’ permission to take their photos. However, Reiner says that he is 60 and that people will be “more accepting” of older people.

When he was caught taking photos, he would silent slip a small paper to the subjects, informing them of his project and his intentions. In an interview, the artist says that we would “always get a smile back” this way.

The entire project can be seen at the official website of Reinier Gerritsen.

Posted in


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Recent Posts

Scroll To Top