Library in Dalkey, Ireland – the subject of “Portrait of a Library.” Photograph by Doreen Kennedy.

We’re loving the gorgeous photography by Irish artist Doreen Kennedy, and we’re confident that you will too. We were so pleased when Doreen wrote to us about her own library-incubated project, Portrait of a Library. Enjoy! ~ Laura

Portrait of a Library

by Doreen Kennedy

I have being visiting local libraries since childhood. I am fascinated by the idea that you can borrow books for free and that these books will pass through many hands before reaching me. Each book with its personal history, documented by the date stamps in the inside cover, representing a new reader with every new date.

Looking at the dates, I would wonder about the other people who had read the book. Did they finish it, or perhaps they just read a few pages and lost interest?

Sometimes a clue about previous readers would be left in the form of a bookmark; a receipt from a supermarket, a postcard from a sunny location, or a scrap of paper torn from a notebook. recent discoveries of routing slips, suggested books ordered from other library branches and made me consider the motivations of the people who sought these specific titles.

Book Grids. Photography by Doreen Kennedy.

During July 2010, I approached the public library in Dalkey, Co. Dublin with the intention of beginning a photographic art project. My idea was to visit the library a number of times to document its contents. As the library would be closed for cleaning on tuesday and thursday mornings, it was agreed that this would be a good time for me to be there. My visits began in August when I started the work of photographing the books and other aspects of the library space. Across several visits I made over a thousand photographs.

Dyptich by Doreen Kennedy.

The resulting images became a series of photomontage grids, diptychs and single image photographs of book details and the library interior. The collection of photographs contained in the Portrait of a Library project documents the contents of a library. Its history of borrowing is marked by the beautiful worn book covers, broken spines, creased pages and intriguing date stamps.

To see more images from the Portrait of a Library by Doreen Kennedy, visit the project’s page at Doreen’s website,

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