A good read

Bill Hicks went into a waffle house – not proud of it but he was hungry – and the waitress asked him, “What you reading for?”

In another world the answer might have been that he was waiting to be snapped by André Kertész whose On Reading is now making its UK debut at the Photographers’ Gallery.

Bill’s been dead 15 years and Kertész nudging 25 so you could say it’s about time.

It’s a small exhibition – only taking up the lower floor of the new gallery space – but it is, to use a cliche, perfectly formed.

Kertész isn’t as well known as Capa, Weston and the rest – perhaps he lacks the iconic shot by which the world would know him – but he features quite heavily in Geoff Dyer’s Ongoing Moment and his shot of Meudon kicked off the BBC’s Genius of Photography. On Reading brings out the side of his work that draws together whimsy and intrigue.

Sometimes the readers are central – at others you hunt for them. Each image rewards a second look. It’s all rather splendid combining being both slightly incosequential with also giving importance to the casualness of reading, however and wherever it’s done.

Prints are for sale but I didn’t have the courage to find out how many pennies my piggy bank would lose.

I will be back for the book though.

Which is what Andre would have wanted. Possibly.


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