Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Beinecke Library: treasure under glass

This past week, on Thursday and Friday (3/14-15/08) I attended a conference "Metaphor Taking Shape," which was arranged by The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale in New Haven .

The library building itself was one of the high points for me. (I have addressed the conference itself in another post....) The Beinecke features an interior core of books many floors high behind an inner glass cube. In the right hand photo, you can see one of several inviting leather couches on the library's mezzanine. Behind it is the glass cube with rows of bookcases and books with spines facing out, creating a stunning visual. There is a walkway on each tier so the books on the exterior shelves can be accessed. The large photo  above has an oddly tipsy view and it features the lovely repetition of squares in the building design. You can also see the building's luminous marble side panels, the square forms on the ceiling as well as the glassed book cube. The angle is odd, even dis-orienting I admit, but it's still somehow pleasing to my eye.

To the right is a better view of the luminous marble which on a cloudy day is as grey as the sky. From the exterior, the building is beautiful in its symmetry, but the interior is still the most spectacular view. The design specifically shelters and protects the Beinecke's book collection from damaging sun.

I snapped these shots on Saturday - the ides of March (haha) when a few of the Shijin took a little tour of the library's exhibits and some other New Haven spots. While my friends were pondering the book-show for the conference, I got out my camera. (It's surprising the many delicate places you can take photos as long as no flash is used. I also took a few in the Yale Museum of Art. I asked in both places.) I should note that I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 . It takes six meg pics and is obsolete according to Circuit City. However, it has a Leica glass lens which takes marvelously readable pictures in low light conditions -- perhaps not the kind of photos a real photographer takes - but adequate for my purposes.
-- Mar Walker