The Library Exhibition: Thomas R. Schiff
March 15 - April 20, 2017
  • Thomas R. Schiff, George Peabody Library, Baltimore, 2010; from The Library Book (Aperture, 2017) © Thomas R. Schiff
  • Thomas R. Schiff, State Library of Iowa Law Library, Des Moines, 2011; from The Library Book (Aperture, 2017) © Thomas R. Schiff

Opening Reception:

Wednesday, March 15: 7:00–8:30 p.m.

Aperture Gallery hours:

Monday–Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday
Thomas R. Schiff studied photography under Clarence White, Jr. and Arnold Gassan while earning a BBA degree from Ohio University in 1970. Schiff began experimenting with panoramic photography in the mid-1980s, making use of a Hulcherama 360 panoramic camera. He has published six books: Panoramic Cincinnati (2003), Panoramic Ohio (2002), Panoramic Parks (2005), Vegas 360 (2008), Wright Panorama (2010), and Prospect (2012). Schiff helped establish Images Center in Cincinnati in 1980 and he is the founder of FotoFocus, a lens-based art biennial held in Cincinnati. He has just completed a book about the architectural legacy of J. Irwin Miller and the city of Columbus, Indiana.

In 38 sweeping 360° panoramic photographs by Thomas R. Schiff, The Library Exhibition, based off the forthcoming publication The Library Book (Aperture, 2017), describes many of the great libraries of the United States of America, built between the 18th century and the present.  In pre–Revolutionary War America, libraries were member-driven collections for the elite; it was not until 1790 that Benjamin Franklin helped to establish the first public lending library. Throughout the subsequent centuries the library has evolved, but always remained central to the cultural life of the nation. Thomas R. Schiff ’s photographs trace the history of the library through aesthetic and style while featuring legendary architects such as Charles F. McKim; Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge; and I. M. Pei. The Library Exhibition celebrates the library as an institution at the heart of American civilization, telling the related stories of America’s architecture, philanthropy, and civic idealism.

Contextualized by Schiff’s photographs, this exhibition also features a photobook reading room installation, selected by Aperture staff.

Accompanying publication:

The Library Book (Aperture, 2017)

Aperture’s exhibitions are funded, in part, with support from the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.