A Photographic Collection of the Guangzhou Library
The People’s Republic of China
Take a trip to Birmingham. Full of live, full of history and full of people getting from a to b. no matter where you go, you’ll manage to stumble across the mammoth glass building that is in fact Birmingham library. However, this library trip wasn’t to stick my head in a book for hours, no I specifically went to see this small exhibition, held in the front of the library just as you go in. but why was it shown here and what effect does this have on its viewers? So this exhibition is all about the new library created in Guangzhou. If you don’t know your Chinese history then this city is basically one of the most famous ports in china and it has an unbelievable history. China invested 1.3 billion Yuan in this library, ‘the new Guangzhou Library serves as a cultural and communication and exchange platform for the city”. Since it’s opening in 2012 the amount of visitors to the library has been overwhelming and you can really feel the presence and importance of the library throughout these images. The actual library is said to be based on “stacked books”, and its incredible architecture is similar to Birmingham library.
Now you know the basic information behind this project lets get down to the actual photographic aspect of this exhibition. These series of images are shown on the Photographers Wall, which was set up by Grain to promote new artists work and ideas. The two photographers behind the images are Andrew Lacon and Stuart Whipps, and they created this project due to having an interest in both Guangzhou and Birmingham library.
To be these images aren’t the most creative images, but they do exactly what they say; they document not only Guangzhou library but also the city that surrounds it. What I will say is that it isn’t necessarily a photography exhibition in terms of it being creative and original, you can easily find similar images on Google images. But at the same time these images showed me a library’s beautiful architecture that I would have never have heard of if I didn’t see these images.
They make you think about the lines and shapes of the buildings. The incredible designers and architects that have created this important building. Also, they show the crazy nightlife of the city, full of lights and water fountains, and you do compare this to the silent library. And then suddenly your comparing these images to your experience in this library, almost like some kind of inception.
Sure these images gave me the importance of having a place to gain knowledge and better myself, something I take for granted regularly, but I’m not sure these two photographers are going to stick in my mind for having exceptional imagery. Saying that, I do have some appreciation that this was shown in a library, which is not only relevant but also really interesting and unusual.
This exhibition is only on for a limited period of time from the 7th of May to the 28th due to it being on the Photographers Wall, so if you interested in architectural or documentary photography, this is one for you. Nevertheless Grain also has a
collection of photographers at Birmingham library at the same time (currently Faye Claridge) so it is definitely worth the trip.