Reading on a bench

This was taken at the northwest corner of Theodore Roosevelt Park, which adjoins the Museum of Natural History, on Central Park West between 78th and 81st streets. I entered this little park at Columbus and 81st Street, in hopes of finding some interesting people and things to photograph...

 

This guy was relaxing on a bench at the south end of the park, completely oblivious to everything going on around him...

 

Note: this photo was published in a Feb 12, 2010 Slate.fr "Best of France" blog titled Les dix articles que vous avez préférés." It was also published in a Mar 14, 2011 blog titled "Do You Procrastinate?" And it was published in an Apr 1, 2011 blog titled "Stop Procrastinating and Write Your Ebook." It was also published in a May 10, 2011 blog titled "Reading on a Bench." And it was published in an Oct 21, 2011 blog titled "Reading Break."

 

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in an undated (late Apr 2013) blog titled "Expedition Research." And it was published in a Dec 24, 2013 blog titled "Does reading actually change the brain?"

 

Moving into 2014, the photo was published in a Jan 13, 2014 blog titled "Project Management: The Secret to Making Things Happen." It was also published in a Mar 9, 2014 blog titled "Easy reader: an alternative booklist for law students." And it was published in a Jun 17, 2014 blog titled "Cover story: why are books so expensive in Australia?"

 

Moving into 2015, the photo was published in a Jan 23, 2015 blog titled "20 Things To Do When You're 30 That Will Make Your Life Better At 50." It was also published in an Ap 9, 2015 blog titled "11 unconventional tips for winning at life.."

 

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This is part of an evolving photo-project, which will probably continue throughout the summer of 2008, and perhaps beyond: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

 

I don't like to intrude on people's privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they're still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what's right in front of me.

 

I've also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting -- literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I've learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture ... after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it's pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.

 

For the most part, I've deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, drunks, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don't want to be photographed, and I don't want to feel like I'm taking advantage of them. I'm still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We'll see how it goes ...

 

The only other thing I've noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, *far* more people who are *not* so interesting. They're probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I've photographed ... but there was just nothing memorable about them.

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Taken on July 27, 2008