In 38 sweeping 360° panoramic photographs by Thomas R. Schiff, The Library Exhibition, based off the forthcoming publication The Library Book (Aperture, 2017), describes many of the great libraries of the United States of America, built between the 18th century and the present. In pre–Revolutionary War America, libraries were member-driven collections for the elite; it was not until 1790 that Benjamin Franklin helped to establish the first public lending library. Throughout the subsequent centuries the library has evolved, but always remained central to the cultural life of the nation. Thomas R. Schiff ’s photographs trace the history of the library through aesthetic and style while featuring legendary architects such as Charles F. McKim; Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge; and I. M. Pei. The Library Exhibition celebrates the library as an institution at the heart of American civilisation, telling the related stories of America’s architecture, philanthropy, and civic idealism.
Contextualised by Schiff’s photographs, this exhibition also features a photobook reading room installation, selected by Aperture staff.
Thomas R. Schiff studied photography under Clarence White, Jr. and Arnold Gassan while earning a BBA degree from Ohio University in 1970. Schiff began experimenting with panoramic photography in the mid-1980s, making use of a Hulcherama 360 panoramic camera. He has published six books: Panoramic Cincinnati (2003), Panoramic Ohio (2002), Panoramic Parks (2005), Vegas 360 (2008), Wright Panorama (2010), and Prospect (2012). Schiff helped establish Images Center in Cincinnati in 1980 and he is the founder of FotoFocus, a lens-based art biennial held in Cincinnati. He has just completed a book about the architectural legacy of J. Irwin Miller and the city of Columbus, Indiana.
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