This striking book shows the world’s most beautiful libraries through Candida Höfer’s mesmerizing photographs.
No one photographs spaces quite like Candida Höfer and no one has captured better the majesty, stillness, and eloquence of libraries. Traveling around the world, Höfer shows the exquisite beauty to be found in order, repetition, and form–rows of books, lines of desks, soaring shelves, and even stacks of paper create patterns that are both hypnotic and soothing. Photographed with a large-format camera and a small aperture, these razor-sharp images of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, the Escorial in Spain, Villa Medici in Rome, the Hamburg University library, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, and the Museo Archeologico in Madrid, to name a few, communicate more than just the superb architecture. Glowing with subtle color and natural light, Höfer’s photographs, while devoid of people, shimmer with life and remind us again and again that libraries are more than just repositories for books. Umberto Eco’s essay about his own attachment to libraries is the perfect introduction to an otherwise wordless, but sublimely reverent journey.