Your library is your portrait.
~ Holbrook Jackson
Shooting images at night, in my opinion, is how and when you discover whether or not you’ve got the chops to call yourself a photographer. It’s also how my first themed pictorial series, Night at the Library, came about.
One Saturday night last fall, walking around the riverfront, downtown section of the town where I live, camera and tripod in tow, ready to shoot whatever caught my eye and spirit, there it was. Standing stoic at the end of the bustling area on the corner of First St. and Royal Palm Ave., respectfully quiet and beautifully illuminated was the main branch of the public library.
I never gave my local public library much thought after hours; my hours anyway, the daytime hours, the hours where I typically patron this establishment of resource, reading and respected quiet. So I did. I hung out after dark, watched, listened, observed, and took pictures…
My admiration and appreciation for the public library as a pillar of the community grew during this photo-essay project as I continued to shoot and consider: What is it? What else is it? What can it be? The library is unquestionably the most socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, age, and gender diverse place in town — any town, and just as Holbrook Jackson said, it is our portrait. The library serves the community; even after hours — business hours and daylight hours alike. It’s a gathering place, a getaway place, a helpful place, a connecting place, a safe place. And for this photographer the library is an incomparable place.