new yorkers will read anywhere {and so will i}..

{9 photos} Born in the Bronx, Lawrence Schwartzwald has an almost Woody Allen–esque love for New York: He’s a lifelong walker who enjoys people-watching and takes breaks to read books in cafés. For years he worked in restaurants primarily to free up his time to be able to read and attend literary events and poetry readings in the evenings.

In the early 1970s, Schwartzwald 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. But it wouldn’t be until many years later that Schwartzwald would pick up a camera—around age 40—and decide to snap a few pictures at some of the literary events he was attending.

A friend admired his work and suggested he start shooting more. During a brutal heat wave one summer, Schwartzwald took a picture of a long line of people waiting to buy air conditioners on the Upper West Side and ended up making his first sale; the photo appeared on the front page of the New York Times. From there, he started taking photographs of celebrities.

“I never followed where the tips were when I photographed celebrities,” he said. “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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