PDN Photo of the Day

Looking Around America’s Libraries

For more than a quarter century, Thomas R. Schiff has used his distinctive panorama technique to record places and buildings as no one else sees them, positioning his 360-degree camera high in the air to make images that simplify and distort space. “The Library Exhibition: Thomas R. Schiff,” a new show opening today at Aperture’s New York City gallery and running until April 20, collects his photographs of libraries from around the U.S., from the light-filled, multistory atriums of the State Library of Iowa Law Library in Des Moines and the George Peabody Library in Baltimore, to newer structures, such as Louis I. Kahn’s 1971 Phillips Exeter Academy Library and Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus’s Seattle Central Library. Together, they make up a record of the different ways Americans have understood the role of preserving knowledge, across regions and throughout history. (Next month Aperture is publishing a book of the work.)

For Schiff, the work is an effort to help people see the world around them anew. “I always like to go to places people are familiar with and show the perspective from a panoramic camera,” Schiff has said. “The camera distorts everything in the picture—straight lines become curved and it throws off your perspective. It challenges your relationship to what is familiar or thought to be understood.”

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