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Folger Shakespeare Memorial Library

Folger Shakespeare Memorial Library

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! Folger Shakespeare Memorial Library!

We are pleased to announce the return of  a popular  photo safari – part of our architectural photography series – that will take place in  the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill in January 2019.

The Folger Shakespeare Library, which displays  some of the best 1930's style Art Deco windows and doors is also host to a reproduction of an Elizabethan Theatre, and has one of the world's few remaining copies of Shakespeare's First Folio.

Located a block from the US Capitol, the Folger Shakespeare Library is an Elizabethan monument with a neoclassical exterior. On the outside, its white marble harmonizes with such nearby buildings as the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court. Inside, the design evokes Tudor England with elements such as oak paneling, ornamental floor tile, and high plaster ceilings. The Folger building is best known for the Shakespeare bas-reliefs along its north façade, which are set off by a broad terrace and lawn.

The building is extensively ornamented with inscriptions of quotations by and about Shakespeare. Quotations were often used to adorn English great houses of Shakespeare's day, and are an essential part of the Folger's architecture. The chief architect for the Folger Shakespeare Library was Paul Philippe Cret (1876–1945), a well-known Philadelphia architect and French emigré who had trained in the Beaux Arts tradition in Paris. Some of his previous projects included the Organization of American States building in Washington and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Washington architect Alexander Trowbridge was the consulting architect for the project.

The Folger Shakespeare Library was dedicated in 1932 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Folger was a gift to the American nation from Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily Jordan Folger. It is administered by a Board of Governors under the auspices of Amherst College

The instruction by professional architectural photographer and proud Amherst College graduate E. David Luria on this safari will include tips on:

  • how to do exterior photography and capture the unique Art Deco architectural detail of the building:
  • how to keep vertical edges perfectly straight, not falling in on each other
  • lighting, composition, exposure and white balance settings for best picture quality
  • use of F stops and shutter speeds features of the camera 
  • photography of the Library exterior from East Capitol Street using wide angle lenses with small apertures for maximum depth of field
  • photography of the Elizabethan Theatre interior and the adjoining rooms, using correct white balance and exposure settings, with or without tripod

Instructor E. David Luria, founder and director of the Washington Photo Safari, specializes in architecture. His images of Washington DC appear in over 100 publications and on 30 magazine covers. Trained in Paris by a protégé of Henri Cartier Bresson, he is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers and the Association of Independent Architectural Photographers, and the Society of Photographic Educators.

Any camera is acceptable for this safari, even a smartphone, but for best results we suggest a camera with adjustable aperture and shutter speed and manual modes and a lens of at least 18 mm in wide angle and 200 mm in telephoto length for standard SLR cameras with DX-size sensors, or 28 mm in wide angle and 300mm in telephoto for full-frame SLR cameras with FX -size sensors. Even better results will be achieved with wider angle lenses, such as a 10-20mm or a 16-24 mm lens. A tripod is desirable but not required. A 6-inch dual-bubble carpenter's level will help keep vertical lines straight.

The fee includes a $10 donation to the Library. Limited street parking available. Closest METRO is Capitol South on the Blue/Orange/Silver Line.