In May 2012, Ralph Lieberman began photographing Harvard’s architecture ― from bicycle racks to library stacks ― for a project commissioned by Harvard College Library’s Fine Arts Library (FAL) and the Graduate School of Design’s Frances Loeb Library.
“These photographs may be useful to multiple disciplines at Harvard, from Design and Fine Arts to the Humanities, as everyone has their own lens through which they see Harvard,” said Alix Reiskind, digital initiatives librarian at the Frances Loeb Library, who was involved in the project’s organization.
The images, which cover nearly every campus building, are now cataloged and available for use by the entire Harvard community through the Library’s Visual Information Access (VIA) system, and the campaign is not yet finished: Lieberman plans to add another 500 images to the database in next few months.
Lieberman has had a long association with Harvard. In the early 1980s, the Fine Arts Library began acquiring his photographs. Now, some 15,000 of his black-and-white prints and negatives are part of the FAL’s special collections. The library partnered with ARTstor, a nonprofit resource that provides over 1.6 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities and sciences, to scan 3,500 of Lieberman’s images and make them accessible online.