One from the archives for today – I thought I’d posted this a long time ago, but turns out it sat in the ‘draft posts’ folder. Oops!
Inspiration begets inspiration. At least that’s my own theory of creativity. If you’re in photographically inspiring surroundings, it’s unquestionably easier to make an interesting image than otherwise – or at very least feel that you’ve got far more possibilities to hand. There are some assignments where one must fall back onto professionalism and the motto of the US postal service* to get the job done, but then we also have those where you couldn’t stop shooting even if it were forbidden. This assignment was most certainly the latter, and appropriate given the subject was the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s new library space – which in itself is presumably meant to be inspiring to its students.
*Come rain, come shine, dogs be damned etc.
I found CUHK’s library to be one of the most interesting spaces I’ve had the pleasure of shooting, because it manages to be light, airy and open, yet intimate and private to encourage concentration. There’s a lot of natural light, good air circulation through high ceilings and full-volume atria, but at the same time, it’s not so bright that you have issues with patches of sunlight causing eyestrain. The spaces themselves are varied enough to accommodate different working styles and group sizes, and there’s just a lot of it to go around – the images look mostly empty (it was early in the morning), but there has to have been at least a hundred students distributed throughout the place. It’s bright and cheery without being saccharine – the skylight with pool on top of it to allow natural light into the underground space is brilliant (final image) – yet the place is still somehow studious and encouraging of the quiet atmosphere we associate with libraries. It was a far cry from the 700-year old library at my university, but no less ideally suited to the task. As I packed up the camera, I almost wished I was a student again – almost. MT
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