Fotoeins Fotografie

a question of home: 鹹水埠溫哥華? Or elsewhere?

Posts tagged ‘library’

Hackett Hall, State Library of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Hackett Hall, WA State Library (Perth)

In the 1890s, the rush for gold brought people and wealth into Western Australia, accelerating construction of many public buildings. Shown above is Hackett Hall, opened in 1913 and used as the reading room for the State Library of Western Australia until 1984. Materials used in the construction included Western Australian stone and wood to go along with local manufacturing to produce stamped or pressed tin patterned-ceilings, ornamental friezes, spiral staircases, etc. As seen here, the 1996 restoration of the upper levels have recreated the look and feel of a library from the early 20th-century (The Museum of Western Australia).

During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 13 September 2012 with the Canon 450D, 50-prime, and the following settings: 1/40-sec, f/2.8, ISO800, and 50mm focal length (80mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie on fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bHw.

Central Library, Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA, USA, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Library Green, Seattle SPL

The central branch of the Seattle Public Library is a dazzling architectural addition to the city’s downtown district. From the upper floors, it feels like a vast cathedral of space and light. I forget about their collection of books, and marvel instead at the building’s design. Even the escalators are noteworthy: clean lines, bright colours, and clear signage to direct the flow of visitor traffic. Opened to the public on 23 May 2004, the building was designed by the Dutch company OMA with the support of Seattle’s LMN Architects.

I made the picture above on 6 January 2015 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/320-sec, f/8, ISO10000, and 28mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-byJ.

Burning through books like they’re out of style

No, there will be no burning of books. My optimism and caution for history say we’ve learned that particular lesson … hopefully.

I am however reading books at a rapid pace. I’m guilty of reading little over the last ten years, and I’m trying to make up for lost time. With the tracking of reading lists at the Vancouver Public Library, I’ve managed 50 books in 15 months between June 2013 and September 2014. I’ve slowed down some, and I’m in the middle of another 10.

Books and readers, by memyselfaneye on Pixabay

Books and readers, by memyselfaneye on Pixabay (CC0 license)

In the absence of limitless funds, it’s simply not possible to buy all of the books I want to read. Obviously, a public resource for the public good allows residents to borrow. For that, I have once again a debt to the city’s public library; the debt stretches back to childhood when I discovered brand new worlds through books.

Now, I read mostly from two categories: travel and photography.

I’m reading everything I can get my hands on travel, from guides written in a range of styles by various authors to travel memoirs. I’m learning about voice, vocabulary, and delivery.

I’m devouring books on historical and contemporary photography. Like other human enterprises in the 20th-century, much of the art and business was male-dominated. It’s easy to learn about Atget, Brassaï, and Kertész, but I’m taking my time with the work by Burtynsky, Erwitt, and Salgado. I’ve been reading about Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, and Lee Miller; about Bettina Rheims, Vivien Maier, and Francesca Woodman. Recently, I’ve been turning my attention to Laura Gilpin, Jodi Cobb, and Herlinde Koelbl.

Who Cares About Books? Isn’t Everything Online Now?

Aren’t I already reading travel and photography blogs? I’m reading them all the time, so why would I bother to read something as old-fashioned as books?

I’m not looking for specific details directed to a particular niche in mind. I’m on the lookout for a little different, for something on the old we haven’t seen in a long time. If everything’s been done before, I want to learn what we’ve done.

It’s the same kind of attitude and method I once applied to research. I’ll go back to what it was like in the wayback, thrilled with the wait and anticipation, that nuggets of knowledge and wisdom were going to arrive slowly, flipping from one page to the next.

I’ve entered all sorts of bookstores. I’ll pick up a book, and leaf through the contents quickly. Then it’s another, followed by three, four, and more. Ideas pour over me this way, and I’ll let my mind slowly filter and figure things out later.

With books, I don’t have “easy-tech” distractions. A book does not have an audio bell, signaling new mail, a new post somewhere, or a comment on social media. With a book in my hands, the only distraction is not knowing what’s on the other side of the page.

If I’m reading about Estonia in a book on northern Europe, my mind might choose at an inopportune time to know: “well, what about Latvia? Or Lithuania? Or what about a quick ferry across the Baltic Sea over to Helsinki, Finland?” Or I’ll be staring longingly at a famous photograph, and how various circumstances and a thousand random details converged to that one place and single moment in time.

That’s the kind of internal distraction I’m looking for.

Externally, the book is almost a complete experience. The feel of holding a book in my hands. The subtle touch of grasping a page between my fingers, and the delicate circular motion of turning the page over from one side to the other side of the book.

Slow reading, steady dreaming, a lengthy thoughtful process.

I lean back across the couch, book folded over my chest like a wae paperbound tent. I close my eyes, and I let my mind wander, traveling effortlessly from one desired imaginary place to the next.

I’m grateful to memyselfaneye on Pixabay for the use of their photo with the CC0 Creative Commons License. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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