Many people possess fond childhood memories of afternoons spent lounging around public libraries, and oftentimes receiving one’s first library card was a rite of passage of sorts. “Expired”, a new photo series by San Francisco-based photographer Kerry Mansfield, plays on this nostalgia with its depictions of time-weathered library books and the now rather obsolete check-out cards. Mansfield photographed over 180 books for the series, which ultimately produced 175 images (73 of which are available in a book). The artist says that the idea for the project was spun in part from her own pleasant experiences in school libraries as a child, musing poetically in reference to check-out cards,
“I remember reading the list of names that had come before me and cradling the feeling that I was a part of this book’s history and its shared, communal experience exposed by curlicue handwritten names and room assignments revealing repeat customers devouring the book beyond its deadline.”
The photo series expresses this sense of history and commonality through its portrayal of books that have obviously been in circulation for quite a while and also through the use of titles that are cherished by many readers—for example, a torn copy of the children’s book classic, The Little Prince.
According to the biography on Mansfield’s personal website, her work
“explores time and how it effects our perceptions of what we see.”
It makes sense, then, that “Expired” has so much to do with the passage of time.
The pictures, shot against a black background, feature books with a wide variety of origins. The titles pictured came from locations all across the country, from Ashland, Ohio to Beverly Hills.
Of the process behind making the series, Mansfield writes,
“After culling through thousands of books each one was chosen for specific characteristics that best display the love poured into library books over their years on the stacks.”
Fans hungry for more of Mansfield’s work are in luck, as she still has 75 more books she is in the process of shooting.
To view the rest of the series, click here.