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Reinier Gerritsen (1950)

Schermafbeelding 2020-03-31 om 14.10.25

Reinier Gerritsen is a Street photographer “pur sang” , but i found an exception to his works as a street photographer in a book i acquired recently from the library of Total design. In this book which is now available at, i noticed that his photographs were mostly staged. The book BLINDE VERRASSING is published i a small edition in 1993. The photographs look like real pictures on photographic paper, but they are actually printed on special paper. Bound with 3 screws it looks like a very special publication.

In 2008, on a hot day in May, I was walking along the Thirty-Third Street subway platform in New York City. Suddenly they were there, as if I had asked them to pose for me. Red lips, a red bag, and a red sweater. The reds all happened to be in the right place. I pressed the button several times. A blond woman stood reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, a look of concentration on her face; she was clearly reading a sad part of the book. My second character was intently reading Ayn Rand. Another woman was reading a book from her Kindle device. Unfortunately, Kindle does not display the cover of the book being read, so I will never know what she was reading. In the background of the photograph I took that day, you can see a man looking suspiciously into my camera.


You might ask: How did I get here, photographing readers on the 6 local train? It started with the financial crisis. For a few years prior, I was working on my street photography project The Europeans. The book was ready to print, but unfortunately, the crisis had depleted my funds, and I was unable to publish it. I decided to photograph the guys that caused it. I ended up on Wall Street, where I could feel the tension and hoped to capture it in my photographs. Yet people reacted in a friendly way toward my camera and me. When people questioned what I was doing in their subway, I handed them a little slip of paper that explained my project. Within a year I had gathered enough material to make a book. My American colleague Gus Powell came up with the title Wall Street Stop (2011), and provided a text, which captured the essence of what I wanted to achieve with my photographs:

Starting in 2011, this notion drove me to again photograph people reading. This has resulted in an enormous archive of images of individuals and their books, now presented here. These images constitute a document of this transitional moment — but not, one hopes, of the truly last printed book.

gerritsen blinde

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