by Paul Kessel
About the Book
In busy cities we are all bombarded by multiple and often intense stimuli. We are not wired to handle it all at once. The only way to deal with such chaos is to eliminate most of it. In each photograph, we bear witness to this remarkable filtering process. We screen out internal stimuli at the same time. A cell phone, an iPod, a newspaper, or books are all common filtering tools. The human ability to filter and focus is remarkable. The photographs describe this ability. Most of the subjects are in a bubble or small oasis as they have private time in a public space.
This project began as images of people having breakfast alone with the emotional concomitant of loneliness. Shortly into the project I realized that eating alone and loneliness was not what I was photographing. Hence, the project evolved from my attempt to depict loneliness into that of showing people having a private moment alone in the mist of churning activity in a busy urban setting. Each person is either immersed in thoughts and feelings or engaged in activities that prevent quiet contemplation. Some may be lonely. Probably most are not. They are almost always oblivious to other activity in their surroundings including being the subject of a photograph.