A charming collection of vintage photographs of readers lost in thought
Where do our minds go when we read books, magazines and letters? Do we seek an escape, a portal to another world? A secret, a truth, a pleasant distraction? Voyagers, edited by Melissa Catanese (author of Dive Dark Dream Slow), consists almost entirely of anonymous black-and-white snapshots of people in various postures of reading in living rooms, on beds, at the beach, eating breakfast.
We can't see what these readers are thinking, but Catanese occasionally breaks the hypnotic typological rhythm to reveal a new photographic element―a pyramid, a starry night, sunlight blindingly glowing through a window―giving us brief glimpses of the readers' potential narrative journeys.
A wordless book with the size and feel of a vintage paperback found at a flea market, Voyagers reminds us of the power and intimacy of our relationship to reading devices, and evokes an exotic nostalgia for our recent predigital culture.
As with Catanese's prior books (Dive Dark Dream Slow , Hells Hollow, Fallen Monarch ), the images were judiciously selected from the collection of Peter J. Cohen, a celebrated trove of more than 20,000 vernacular photographs from the early to mid-20th century. Gathered from flea markets, dealers and eBay, these images have been acquired, exhibited and included in a range of major museum publications.
13.5 x 19 cm