back to blog

Behind the Scenes of The Last Book

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. Reinier 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.

We joined Gerritsen on the subway in New York City, where he took us through his process of shooting. Of the chaotic, crowded cars, Gerritsen remarks, ‘The light is magnificent…it’s such a dense situation of people. A lot of sociological events are very visible in the Subway.’ Gerritsen’s photographs of people reading books on the subways began with modest observations and evolved into The Last Book, a series of unexpected, documentary portraits, and an illustrated index and bibliography charting readership. The Last Book is now available.

Sign up for Aperture's weekly newsletter: