Veteran photographer Robert Dawson earned his bona fides in the 1980s and ’90s shooting spectacular images of the American West, often intended to highlight environmental threats such as drought and overdevelopment.
Around the turn of the millennium, though, Dawson refocused on a seemingly unrelated subject: libraries. He began traveling across the country, photographing hundreds of them from the modest to the monumental. The project culminated in 2014 with the publication of The Public Library: A Photographic Essay. The Library of Congress ended up purchasing the archive for its permanent collection.