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The Public Library: A Photographic Essay By Robert Dawson


  • America House

 

Цей проект - фотографічний огляд публічних бібліотек з усіх куточків Сполучених Штатів. Понад 17000 публічних бібліотек працюють у цій країні. Роберт Доусон працював над цим проектом 18 років та сфотографував сотні бібліотек у 48 штатах. Від Аляски до Флориди та від Нової Англії до Каліфорнії, фотографії показують динамічну і необхідну систему, існування якої все ще під загрозою.

У добу цифрових технологій бібліотека перевинаходить себе. Що повинно бути у бібліотеці? В якій формі ми хочемо зберігати інформацію та культуру? Від бібліотек вимагається все більше – вийти за рамки обміну книжками і перетворитися на громадські центри.

Відкриття виставки: 30 липня, 13:00

This project is a photographic survey of public libraries throughout the United States. There are almost 17,000 public libraries in the United States. The project began in 1994 and lasted for 18 years. The author, Robert Dawson, photographed hundreds of libraries in forty-eight states. From Alaska to Florida and from New England to California the photographs show a vibrant, essential yet threatened system. The modern library in the computer age is in the midst of reinventing itself. What belongs in a library? In what form do we want to preserve information and culture.

Exhibit opening: July 30, 1pm

Artist statement

This project is a photographic survey of public libraries throughout the United States. There are almost 17,000 public libraries in this country. Since I began the project in 1994 I have photographed hundreds of libraries in forty-eight states. From Alaska to Florida and from New England to California the photographs show a vibrant, essential yet threatened system.

The modern library in the computer age is in the midst of reinventing itself. What belongs in a library? In what form do we want to preserve information and culture? More books are being published than ever before yet library budgets are shrinking. More is also being demanded of our libraries as they move beyond being centers for books to becoming centers for community.  People without homes often find libraries to be one of the few safe places as homeless shelters are cut back. Access to the Internet is increasingly necessary to function in our society and many people have only the library to connect to the web.

Libraries are local but I chose to view this astonishing system as a whole. While each library has its own unique set of needs the nation-wide system of local libraries constitutes an important part of a healthy society. In the nineteenth century there was a strong correlation between the public library movement and the movement for public education. People understood that the future of democracy is contingent on an educated citizenry. They also felt that every citizen should have the right of free access to community-owned resources. These ideas coalesced into today’s public libraries which function as a system of non-commercial centers that help us define what we value and what we share.

My photographs have been recognized by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fellowship from the National Endowment For the Arts and the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from the Center For Documentary Studies at Duke University. My books include Robert Dawson Photographs (1988); The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland (University of California Press, 1993); Farewell, Promised Land: Waking From the California Dream (University of California Press, 1999); A Doubtful River (University of Nevada Press, 2000) and most recently The Public Library: A Photographic Essay (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014).  I am the founder and co-director with my wife Ellen Manchester of the Water in the West Project. My photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian Institution); The Center For Creative Photography at the University of Arizona; The Getty Museum and the Library of Congress. I received my B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and my M.A. from San Francisco State University. I have been an Instructor of Photography at San Jose State University since 1986 (now retired) and an Instructor of Photography at Stanford University since 1996.

Please remember to bring your passport or driver's license.

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