Visit to Birmingham Library.

Today we visited Birmingham Library in order to view Reference Works, as well as see the new changes since it’s redevelopment. I was quite interested to be able to go and actually see the finished library, after photographing it as part of my Creative Digital Pratice model whilst it was undergoing work.

“Reference works is a major new photography commission in which four leading artists have made creative responses to the new Library of Birmingham and the old Central Library.”

Featuring the work of Michael Collins, Andrew Lacon, Stuart Whipps and Brian Griffin, they have each created a series of images in relation to Birmingham Library. Collins’ work explored the library whilst still under construction. I found these images the most interesting as it showed the development of the library and the great scale of the changes which the library went through. As a photographer who photographs in 10 x 8 in colour negative film in order to create 5 x 4ft prints, he always captures alot of detail through his photos. I feel with his images of Birmingham Library, you could have spent a long time exploring all the details of the photograph which you may not have necessarily seen instantly which works really interestingly. Andrew Lacon explores the connection between photography and landscape and here he made comparisons between the old and new library, turning his photos into drawings and sculptures. Stuart Whipps researched into the old library and it’s archives, concentrating on two main pieces – the Shakespeare Memorial room and the decorative brick wall which previously helped partially form the link between the Museum and Art Gallery and The Council House, which have been subject to change since the development. Brian Griffin created the portraits of the main contributors to the library project. Following research of looking at portraits of librarians in the 19th/20th century, he incorporated this style into his own work. At first I wasn’t so sure of these images but after learning more about the context of the images, it gives a light hearted insight to the people who made the project possible.

Reviewing Birmingham Library as a whole, it was honestly quite stunning to view. With a number of floors filled with different books, interactive systems, computers, suites, meeting rooms and more there was so much to see. It also catered to the needs of many audiences by including a huge area for children and a wide range of topics to cover all subjects. The simple appearance from the outside was too impressive with the sheer scale and interesting design. Although I never visited Birmingham Library before it’s development, the modern appearance and volume of resources make it an impressive place. However, I do feel that since it’s reconstruction it has very much become a place of tourist attraction – although there is no harm in this, the library was very loud which I would personally find it hard to work in therefore slightly detracting away from the quiet library feel.

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on October 31, 2013.

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