What remains of reading on paper in our cities? Whether on a bench during the first rays of the sun or on the run in newsstands, reading on paper is not a zapping of a few seconds like on mobile phones but requires a certain availability or strategy approach.

I have observed that magazine readers often feel like they are stealing the present. “Leafing” is not reading, says a woman I meet in the department of women’s magazines. This is to remind us that anyone can legitimately not immediately buy a magazine from a newsagent and continue to flip through it, just for the sake of it, until they have made their choice. A reasonable time of a few minutes of newspaper reading is of course mandatory and generally respected. We are in special places, stolen moments of reading, intermediaries, you might say, where the reader does not yet take the time to read his newspaper, to open it truly, and to settle down.

On the contrary, in other places such as on a bench, sitting in the metro or at the counter of a cafe, I manage to capture through my photographs the privileged moments where the reader takes the time to lean, to s dig deeper into your reading, and sometimes even sit at a table or bench to enjoy. He settles indefinitely in a bubble in which he feels good to bathe in the atmosphere of the story of his book. A time that he fully agrees with in his city, with his reading object, and in a specific place that he carefully chooses to read at his ease.

I try to capture all these stolen moments of readings.

Christian Barbé
June 2019