Portrait painters frequently give their sitters a book to hold or even to read. To keep them still, to imply a cultured quality, sometimes to suggest piety with a holy book. Often, I suppose, because the subjects themselves fought to avoid boredom and sleep. Such is the case with photography too, and the main difference now is that the book is frequently replaced by a newspaper or magazine.

I’ve chosen to call this book ‘Reading’ as that act does seem to be in progress in most of the images. Learning to read is illustrated here, and in the languages and symbols of many different parts of the world. The places where people choose to read are interestingly various and often downright odd.

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Copyright 2016

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