Posted by: bluesyemre | May 4, 2018

An open #book: a photographer’s love letter to city #libraries (Swiss librarian and photographer Thomas Guignard @timtomch)

Great Library

Osgoode Hall Great Library | Toronto, Canada

Swiss librarian and photographer Thomas Guignard captures the beauty, symmetry and intricate designs of libraries across the world…

To some they are a sanctuary, to others a place of silent boredom, but to Swiss photographer Thomas Guignard libraries are a thing of beauty. Working as a librarian and photographer for the last 12 years, Canada-based Guignard combines his great loves in the Instagram account @concretelibraries.

“Libraries are the tangible, physical and often monumental representation of human knowledge,” he says. “They are built to share and make that knowledge accessible, to foster community, to encourage the sharing of ideas and invite everyone to contribute to that trove of knowledge.”

Guignard has photographed library buildings across the world, from his current hometown of Toronto to Oxford, UK via Detroit in the US. So far he’s visited 35 libraries and has a bucket list of about 310 that he hopes to visit and photograph in the future.

Guignard’s interest in library architecture grew in parallel with his photography practice. Whilst working for the library at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, he was involved in the development of a new learning centre, which opened in 2010. As part of his research, Guignard visited other, photographing unique details of their design, and gradually became fascinated by them.

“As I visited those libraries, I took more and more pictures, and became more interested in those spaces for their unique aesthetics,” he says.

“I try to use symmetry and pay particular attention to how I align my shots to highlight the sacredness of these spaces.”

Guignard sees libraries as symbols of “gathering places for communities”. “They are participatory; they can’t exist without users, a community – and, of course, librarians and library workers, who do so much more than just stamp out books.”


Places to go – Libraries

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