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The Underground New York Public Library


We are all fascinated by stories. Children love listening to stories. We love stories as adults. We love telling stories, and we all are involved in our very own stories, too. Stories transport cultural knowledge, give us advice, open up fresh perspectives and reveal meaning. We might identify with the stories' characters and relate to them. Also, stories serve to slip into another world for a short period of time, away from the "real" world we currently live in.

This is exactly the moment the photographer and storyteller Ourit Ben-Haïm seems to capture. Her website Underground New York Public Library displays photos from commuters reading in the New York Underground. The pictures show people being in the here and now, absorbed in a story in a fast moving world. Ourit Ben-Haïm also provides the book's title and author, so we know what those people are actually reading.

Ourit Ben-Haïm feels that her photo series come together as a visual library. She started the project in 2008. Currently, her facebook page has more than 23,000 likers. She states on her webpage: "I’m fascinated by how we apply ourselves to stories and discourse. In so doing, we shape who we understand ourselves to be."

In case you have forgotten what is so fascinating about books and stories, have a look at the Underground New York Public Library.

Photo with courtesy of Ourit Ben-Haïm.