Visitors to the new £190 million Library of Birmingham will be greeted by images taken by some of the world’s top photographers.
The seven images were acquired with help from the Magnum picture agency along with some funding from the library’s construction partners.
The exhibition aims to celebrate street life and includes work from renowned photographers Bruno Barbey, Richard Kalvar and Chris Steele-Perkins.
Mr Steele-Perkins was also commissioned by the library to work with photography students and staff from Birmingham City University.
They were tasked by the library to work with the business community in Colmore Business District and resulted in a book entitled ‘Perspectives’.
The 'Take To The Streets' exhibition previously went on public display at Snow Hill Plaza in 2011
Pete James, Head of Photographs at Birmingham City Council’s Library and Archive Services, said: “We are thrilled to acquire prints from Chris Steele-Perkins, Bruno Barbey and Richard Kalvar for our collections, representing the important phenomenon of street photography.
“When we move to the new library in 2013 we look forward to making our extensive photographic collections, including important prints such as these, more easily accessible both to visitors to the library building and online, so that they can be enjoyed by people around the world.”
Nathan Tromans, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, added: “For any aspiring documentary photographer, it would be a dream to one day work for Magnum, the most prestigious and highly regarded photo agency in the world.
“This legacy project, which follows the Take to the Streets exhibition, will provide our students with a unique opportunity to document the Colmore Business District with creative support from Magnum.
“I’m convinced that this placement will contribute to their creative work and confidence and I commend the vision of the Colmore Business District, Library of Birmingham and Magnum for this commission.
”The acquisition strengthens the library’s collections ahead of the move to its new site in 2013 and was made possible through the financial support provided for the project by Birmingham City University and the Colmore Business District.”
The Perspectives project offered Birmingham City University students unique access to businesses within the Colmore Business District and enabled them to gain experience of commercial photographic commissions, mentored by Magnum Photographer Chris Steele Perkins and Birmingham City Council’s Library and Archive Services.
A number of the emerging photographers continue to be mentored by the Photography Department at the library as they start on their career paths.
More than three million visitors are expected to the Library of Birmingham each year, and millions more online.
Described by its architect Francine Houben as a ‘people’s palace’, the library is intended to be highly accessible and family-friendly.
Services are delivered through collaboration between the library, The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, partners and communities.
The Library of Birmingham aims to provide a mix of events, activities and live performances, together with offering visitors a host of resources, along with exhibitions and access to expert help for learning, information and culture.
* The book 'Perspectives’ available from the Colmore Business District, at £20. Click here for details