chinatown library chicago, som
Spring has finally arrived and I’ve finally gotten my hibernating self out of the house for some much needed photography. The new-ish Chinatown Library has been on my list for awhile. So, I met up with a photographer friend, Peter Tsai, to check out this great space and grab lunch at Joy Yee Noodle….yum! Oh yeah, and he let me borrow his fisheye lens for the shot above!
The library opened last August and was designed by Wight & Company in collaboration with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to serve the community as a civic, educational and social hub. Peter and I joked that the library felt more like a Starbucks, which, really is a good thing. It’s a bright space that feels very open and energetic as opposed to how I remember libraries feeling when I was growing up – kinda dark, dingy and depressing. This space felt lively and somewhere I’d actually want to go.
The largely glass exterior is covered in shading fins which still allows high visibility to both the library patrons and those passing by. I haven’t seen the building at night but, when lit, it’s meant to resemble a glowing lantern. There is much curvature to the building referencing the Feng Shui design principles valued by the community. Definitely a space worth checking out next time you’re in Chinatown.
Onto the photos…
The first group of images is my more typical way of shooting and how I most prefer to photograph architectural subjects, on the more abstract side. If there are interesting clouds I love trying to find a way to incorporate a bit of the natural environment.
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
However, I’m finding the more I teach, people often wonder what it is they’re looking at on a wider scale. So I’m really trying to shoot wider, more environmental, I guess, commercial type of shots. I’ve tried this off and on and don’t love to shoot this way. To me, it feels like I’m just documenting a space as opposed to seeing it in a more creative or artistic way. Clearly this type of photography has its place and people that shoot this way as a profession do a much better job than I do, but we all have our own way of approaching our subjects. For the most part I’ll be sticking with what you see above and occasionally showing the broader scene you see below. Bear with me…they progressively get more inclusive of the whole scene.
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
chinatown library chicago, som
Because when there’s BW you know there’s a color version…head over here to see.

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