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Before social distancing, it was easy to catch a glimpse of someone’s text messages while waiting on a crowded subway platform or standing in line; allowing your eyes to linger a second longer than you should.
Photographer Jeff Mermelstein has used this common impulse to create a series of photos, surreptitiously taken over the shoulders of strangers.
Now featured in a new book titled #nyc after the hashtag Mermelstein used on his Instagram posts of the snaps, the collection of conversations is a touching, funny and sometimes absurd look at how we communicate.
The project also raises questions about privacy and photography: though the identities of the people in Mermelstein’s images remain unknown, the conversations are often deeply intimate.
“(I chose) the ones that would be memorable, perhaps even enigmatic or ambiguous, long lasting, and thought-provoking,” he said over the phone.US photographer Jeff Mermelstein turned a brief glimpse of strangers' text messages and turned them into series of photos, surreptitiously taken over the shoulders of strangers. Credit: Jeff Mermelstein/MACK
Since beginning the project in 2018, Mermelstein has amassed around 1200 images, according to his estimates.
And while limited to a few anonymous lines, the texts are enough to fabricate…
More than a year after the first known outbreak of Covid-19, much of the world remains in some form of lockdown. Here in the UK, tier 4 guidelines announced recently mean that all gyms, lidos and public leisure centres are closed until further notice. But for the brave few, the chilly outdoors is an opportunity to shake up the now monotonous routine of indoor exercise via apps or Zoom, and provides a chance to escape the confines of home (even if only an hour a day).
For Jason Leggett, master trainer at boutique fitness gym Barry’s and outdoor running enthusiast, the cold outdoors is the optimal workout environment — as cold air constricts blood flow, making the heart pump harder. Regardless of your chosen sport, be it running, cycling or HIIT training, Leggett stresses that what you wear is important, not only for performance but also for your mental motivation.
Leggett advises investing in good training or running footwear — something comfortable and durable such as the Nike Pegasus Gore-Tex sneaker (£130, nike.com); a lightweight bag or belt to hold necessary items (like a face-mask and house keys) that won’t distract or feel uncomfortable, such as the Free Train Running…
“The Big One,” screamed a giant all-caps headline on The Miami Herald’s front page one day in 1992. Beneath it, a smaller one: “Hurricane of our nightmares is knocking at the front door.”
Two days after that edition went to press, southern Dade County was in ruins. Tens of thousands of families were left homeless by winds that ripped their houses apart overnight. I was working as an editor at the newspaper, and a vivid lesson from Hurricane Andrew has stuck with me.
On one side of a particular street, the powerful winds shattered nearly every house. But on the other side, roof joists had been fastened down more securely by a conscientious builder, and the homes survived the storm in far better condition.
You can bet the owners of those homes were glad they had paid a modest premium for superior construction. Damage from the storm forced a wave of upgrades to Florida’s anemic building codes. It was my introduction not only to the necessity of robust, well-enforced building codes, but to the idea that society has a powerful interest in seeing them improve over time.
Just about every new building that goes up in America is governed…