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A Timeless Love of Literature.: 2019

The rapid advancement of technology subtly transforms many aspects of our lives. One such transformation is the shifting cultural landscape surrounding traditional paper books. Before computers became ubiquitous in human civilization, books held a central place. For instance, in my collection of tintype photographs from the 1860s to the 1870s, books are frequently depicted as part of the decor. Even earlier, artists routinely included books in their paintings.

 

As a multidisciplinary artist, documentary photography holds a special place in my heart. It allows me to express artistic sentiments about the ordinary lives of people. In search of a new photographic experience, I acquired a Hasselblad medium-format film camera in 2019. With a fondness for portraiture, I embarked on a project. By chance, at the free Sunday festival known as Tam Tams Montreal, I encountered Josephine, a French girl engrossed in a book against the backdrop of a sunset beneath the George-Étienne Cartier Monument. Despite the lively drumming and cacophony of noise, Josephine remained deeply immersed. Surrounded by people glued to their smartphones, her focus on reading was a stark contrast. Research suggests that reading can reduce stress by up to 68 percent, surpassing relaxation achieved through activities like music, tea, or walks. However, the NOP World Culture Score Index reveals a troubling statistic: individuals in the U.S. spend ten times more time watching television than reading.

 

The tactile experience of reading a paper book offers a refuge from the harsh blue light of screens and the captivating allure of mobile devices.



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