Nobody photographs libraries, those splendid and intimate cathedrals of knowledge, as beautifully as Candida Hoefer. Her photographs are sober and restrained - the atmosphere is disturbed by neither visitors nor users, especially as she forgoes any staging of the locations. The emptiness is imbued with substance by a subtle attention to colour, and the prevailing silence instilled with a metaphysical quality that gives voice to the objects, over and above the eloquence of the furnishings or the pathos of the architecture.
This sumptuous volume contains Hoefer's famously ascetic images of the British Library in London, the Escorial in Spain, the Whitney Museum and the Pierpoint Library in New York, the Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris, the Villa Medici in Rome and the Hamburg University Library, among others.
Umberto Eco introduces the collection with a witty reflection on the role of libraries in all our lives.
Almost completely devoid of people, as is Hoefer's trademark, these pictures radiate a comforting serenity that is exceptional in contemporary photography.
Candida Hofer studied with Bernd Becher at the Dussedorf Academy of Art. Candida Hofer: A Monograph was published by Thames & Hudson in 2003. Umberto Eco is a writer, philosopher and professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna. His novel The Name of the Rose was an international bestseller.