To learn to read is to light a fire;
every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
– Victor Hugo
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of images of people reading are uploaded to the web everyday. Us book types would be hard-pressed to get through a day without seeing an image of someone reading something.
This was not the case in 1971 when Grossman Publishers released On Reading a compilation of photographs by Hungarian-born photographer Andre Kertész. For over a half a century Kertész took pictures of people reading, from his first photograph of a reader in 1915 until the his last one in the late 1970s wherever his travels took him he was capturing readers.
Enter Steve McCurry. Though best known for his iconic photograph, Afghan Girl, McCurry has also been picturing readers as he travels the world. He recently blogged about a series of photographs of people reading under the title To Light a Fire, whose name comes from the Victor Hugo quote above.
With the same combination of technical skill and spirit McCurry channels Kertész in capturing the essence and power of reading – in their world no one looks weak, as long as there is access to information there is hope.
Sign up for our newsletter to have the best of Book Riot delivered straight to your inbox every two weeks. No spam. We promise.