Art is all around us… and it’s far more interesting, colorful, and nuanced than glossy photographs of celebrities. For Moroccan photographer and artist Ourit Ben-Haïm, art can be found at subway stations.
She captures images of commuters reading on subways or in subway stations. “I’m an artist and a storyteller,” she said in a Fast Company interview. “The NYC subway provides a constant metaphorical suggestion of the relationship between our stories and our journey.”
She takes photographs during her subway rounds and posts them at The Underground New York Public Library (UNYPL) Why does she do this? “I’m fascinated by how we apply ourselves to stories and discourse. In so doing, we shape who we understand ourselves to be.”
What I love about this project (oh, there’s so much!) is how colorful and textured all the photographs are. People look like people. They are not airbrushed or perfectly coiffed or even matched well. And all those facts make the photographs intriguing. You see people as people, who they are, just readers along a journey to their destination.
Her photographs reminded me of when I lived near New York City and frequently visited friends there. What always fascinated me was the variety of people I’d see in New York. The palette had so many more colors than my own day-to-day life.
How brilliant of Ourit Ben-Haïm to capture the fascination we have people-watching… and to add the extra curiosity of the choice of people’s books. As you look at the photographs, you wonder, “What are they reading? Why? I wonder who recommended the books to them. Are they enjoying it?” A bookworm and writer could get lost for hours in thought while visiting the UNYPL.