Underground New York Public Library: Who’s Reading What On The Subway?

Posted on Monday, July 30th, 2012 by

Ever wondered what the guy next to you on the subway was reading? So did cheeky photographer Ourit Ben-Haim when creating this interesting photo series, the ‘Underground New York Public Library’…


The subway: A more common place to read than you’d think!

We really enjoyed scrolling through the Underground New York Public Library: It’s everything you want from a Tumblr blog – an artist’s impression of life on a subway that often takes on a personality of its own. We decided to catch up with the photographer himself and ask him about his project:

“This library freely lends out a reminder that we’re capable of traveling to great depths within ourselves and as a whole … I’m fascinated by how we apply ourselves to stories and discourse. In so doing, we shape who we understand ourselves to be.”  Ben-Haim’s blog posts pictures of readers and also includes the title of the book they’re reading.

“Mary Poppins,” by Dr. P. L. Travers

But Ourit makes it clear that what he’s showing us isn’t actually about reading or books at all! “I’m photographing inwardness. The books (and the setting too) are poetic props that stir revelation.”

“Stranger in a Strange Land,” by Robert A. Heinlein

“I want to show the incredible reality of what it means to be a human being. This means that I’m not just finding people with books on the subway and photographing them,” Ben-Haim reveals.

“Survival in Auschwitz,” by Primo Levi

Instead, the Underground New York Public Library is all about finding a connection with peoples’ inner worlds (and with those of the people around them too) and he’s photographing the event of it. “I want to be a person that shows us this.” Sounds good enough to us!

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” As Told To Alex Haley

Bottom Line

Underground New York Public Library is a very creative and unique visual library. Maybe it’s time you dive into someone’s soul through the book they’re reading on the subway!

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