“Palaces of Self-Discovery”: Libraries from Rome to Buenos Aires by Thibaud Poirier

“Reading is solitude. One reads alone, even in another’s presence,” wrote Italo Calvino in If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Inspired by this quote, French photographer Thibaud Poirier has put together a splendid series on libraries – from Rome to Buenos Aires.

“These temples of cultural worship gather communities,” writes Thibaud, “and yet the literary experience, and therefore the experience of a library, remains solitary. Giving groups of scholars and peers glimpses into the past, present and future of humanity, literature offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore one’s self from within through the unique internal narrative that each reader develops. It is this internal narrative that forms us when we are young, matures with us, and grows when we feed it. It was the first means of travel offered to many and continues to be the most accessible form of escape for millions of people seeking knowledge, the world, themselves.”

Thibaud Poirier

That’s why the photographer refers to libraries as “palaces of self-discovery”. In this collection, he illuminates classical values of beauty – symmetry, proportion, order, organisation, a certain harmony with nature. These images, shot mostly in Europe, celebrate the grandeur and the intellectual spirit of Western civilisation.

Born in 1987 in Paris, Thibaud Poirier has spent most of his life experiencing other cities and cultures across the globe. Buenos Aires, Houston, Montreal and Tokyo are some of the cities he has called home. He developed a love and fascination for urban environments early and began teaching himself photography by way of Instagram in 2011, quickly ascending to be one of France’s leading architectural photographers.

Thibaud further honed his photography skills in collaborations with Paris Match and Saint Gobain. He is based out of Paris, and frequently travels around Europe for personal and commissioned series. In all of his projects, he pays meticulous attention to perspective, lighting, colour and definition. His aim is to show the first impression that at-times deserted and at-times overlooked places inspire in him.

Links: Website (www.thibaudpoirier.com) | Facebook (www.facebook.com/thibaudpoirierphotography) | Tumblr (thibaudpoirier.tumblr.com) | Behance (www.behance.net/thibaudpoirier) | Instagram (instagram.com/tibman) | Twitter (@thibaud_poirier)

Images used with permission.


Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, 1850


Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, 2011


Galerie Diane, Fontainebleau


Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, 1868


Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Salle Labrouste, Paris, 1868


Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Salle Ovale, Paris, 1868


Palàcio Nacional de Mafra, Mafra, 1755


Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1732


Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Salle Labrouste, Paris, 1868


Grimm Zentrum Library, Berlin, 2009


Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra, 1728


Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome, 1701


Biblioteca Angelica, Rome


Bibliothèque Historique de Paris


Bibliothèque de Musée Guimet, Paris


El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires


Bibliothèque de l’Hotel de Ville de Paris, Paris, 1890


Bibliothèque de Médecine, Paris


Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne, Salle Jacqueline de Romilly, Paris, 1897


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