Barr None

"I started going to the library doing what most people do: looking at books," says Phoenix photographer Peter Sills. "One of the things I noticed was the incredible northern light. It started to become my photo studio." Hence the new "Peter Sills: Library Portraits 2009" exhibit. Sills’ large color prints are straightforward, unpretentious records of the motley mix of literacy junkies who visit Burton Barr Central Library, frozen in moments of peace and purpose in the Will Bruder-designed architectural hothouse.

"From a technical standpoint, I like photographing in natural-light environments," Sills says, but "you start to notice other factors. . . . You realize that the library doesn’t have a class-barrier issue; there never were any walls up. While we might seem very guarded to ourselves when we meet each other on the street, the library seems to disarm this." Looking into the calm eyes of Sills' subjects, we relax, too, building an internal sanctuary from the city's stresses.

Aug. 8-Sept. 1, 2009
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson