Words & Photographs by Kevin Rabalais
In early December, I spent a few days in Sydney, moving with my camera and a backpack full of books among the city’s beaches and arcades, its cafés and bookstores. Thanks to its subtropical climate, Sydney offers endless opportunities for outdoor reading. For those who don’t want the sand of Sydney’s many beaches on their pages (occasionally kicked up by surfers racing toward potential waves), the grand buildings in the central business district, among them the majestic Queen Victoria Building, offer reading havens.
“Usually when we read a newspaper or book, we hold it in our hands,” John Berger writes in an essay on André Kertész. “Meanwhile what we are reading, whether it is a news item or a poem or a philosophical thesis, takes our attention and a part of our imagination elsewhere.” The latter—particularly the grammar of a reader’s body, along with the life that hums, unnoticed, in their midst—has always fascinated me. In today’s installment of Sacred Trespasses, I offer these images as part of a continuing pursuit to preserve the moments of public reading that I consider myself fortunate to observe.