Bureaucratics by Dutch Photographer

29 Nov 2012

Author traveled 8 countries and 5 continents to take the photographs of government officials at their desks.

Dusty corridors covered with shabby carpets, tattered and faded by time… I remember the smell filling those corridors, a strong, peculiar smell of old papers collected in piles. When I was a child it seemed to be the most boring and endless thing ever – standing in a queue for documents, with mom holding my hand.

Rows of tired people, musty walls with holey wallpapers, calmness and tidiness of private offices with stout women drinking coffee from tiny decorated cups – those were the images rised clearly when I first saw the pictures of Dutch photographer’s “Bureaucratics” series.

Things that seem to be “unphotographable”, in the words of author, suddenly appear perfectly clear and absolutely evident to viewer. Bright and catchy characters of public employees from different countries demonstrate perfectly the evidence that bureaucracy worldwide is one and the same. However, all of the images are imbued with a touching individuality reflected in the faces of men and women of different ages, different races and different cultures – but all of them telling a story. Office furnishings, personal items, photographs of relatives and posters hanging on the walls – these are the attributes making the series unusual and profound. A little touch of an irony is also remarkable. It can be easily found in small details like the vast stacks of crumpled papers in the government bureau in India, or the old-fashioned look of a plump woman from Russia, sitting strictly and formally in front of the prehistoric monitor. Thus, a small fraction of sarcasm and a good sense of humor become key things for balancing between a total bore and a comedy.

It ultimately took author to travel 8 countries and 5 continents to take the photographs of government officials from  China, Bolivia, India, France, Russia, Yemen, USA and Liberia.

Bolivian policeman sitting in front of a small table, stuffed by flags and maps.

Chinese salaryman sitting in an office decorated with loads of plants, mainly cactuses.

Tough french guy, with tattoos, working in a cozy office, with lots of children’s photos on the wall, maybe his kids.

Indian guy with moustaches, wearing glasses and lots of golden rings, filling out the pile of papers.

African guy wearing flip flops, sitting in an office with american flag on the background.

A russian man with moustaches, glasses in his hand, in an office with Putin’s picture hanging on the wall.

American wearing a cowboy hat, sitting in a leather armchair, in an office with two deer heads hanging on the wall.

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