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Quiet please

The Photographer’s Story

THIBAUD POIRIER

In the past two years, I’ve photographed 18 libraries in 10 cities. I’ve always liked architectural photography and wanted to make a themed project; I chose libraries as I was interested in looking back through history and seeing how these buildings, all designed for the same purpose, were so different across time and place. When I was younger, I didn’t really like reading, and even as a student I didn’t study in libraries, but this project gave me a way to travel with a certain focus. I visited libraries dating from the 1600s and others built in the past decade; some were built for studying, others for storing books. Many of them were beautiful, historical buildings made by famous architects of the period – back when they were built, books were the best way to transmit knowledge and cities would spend a lot of money on libraries that would stand the test of time. It was fascinating to explore these important places of knowledge, aware that people had come to them every day for centuries. I usually visited in the morning before they opened. Since I got permission beforehand, I’d often get to meet the library’s director or a staff member who would tell me its stories – a fascinating private visit. It could feel intimidating to be alone in a place that’s usually so full of people, but I was also aware of just how lucky I was.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - November 2017
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