The Art of Reading

about Lawrence Schwartzwald

For years Lawrence Schwartzwald worked in restaurants primarily to free up his time to be able to read and attend literary events and poetry readings in the evenings. Reading has always been something he enjoyed more than just about anything. In the early 1970s, he picked up a copy of Andre Kertesz’s On Reading and felt inspired looking at the black-and-white candid images of people reading around the world and wanted to do something similar. Although it wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision, his eye for a great picture combined with his love of books began to come together. But it wouldn’t be until many years later that Lawrence would pick up a camera — around age 40 — and start his prolific series of people reading.

Born in the Bronx, New York, US, Lawrence is a lifelong walker who enjoys people-watching and takes breaks to read books in cafés: “I have a great feel for the city… it’s always the spontaneous moments I find myself in. Everyone can be looking for people but I wonder around and bump into them, I have that weird intuitive knack or whatever it is.”


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