Bureaucratics by Jan Banning - Design Bureau

Jan Banning

INDIA, 2003
Sushma Prasad (b. 1962) is an assistant clerk at the Cabinet Secretary of the State of Bihar (population 83 million) in The Old Secretariat in the state capital, Patna. She was hired “on compassionate grounds” because of the death of her husband, who until 1997 worked in the same department. Monthly salary: 5,000 rupees ($110, €90).

Jan Banning

USA, 2007
Rudy Flores (b. 1963) is one of the 118 Texas Rangers, state law enforcement officers who cover 254 counties between them. He is based in Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, and is responsible for three counties. Monthly salary: $5,000 (€3,720).

Jan Banning

Constantino Ayaviri Castro (b. 1950), previously a construction worker, is a police officer, third class, for the municipality of Tinguipaya, Tomas Frias province. The police station does not have a phone, car or typewriter. Monthly salary: 800 bolivianos ($100, €189).

Jan Banning

Major Adolph Dalaney works in the Reconstruction Room of the Traffic Police at the Liberia National Police Headquarters in the capital Monrovia. Traffic accident victims at time are willing to pay a little extra if Dalaney’s department quickly draws up a favorable report to present to a judge. Monthly salary: barely 1,000 Liberian
dollars ($18, €17).

Jan Banning

RUSSIA, 2004
Marina Nikolayevna Berezina, a former singer and choir director, is now the secretary to the head of the financial department of Tomsk province’s Facility Services. Monthly salary: not revealed.

Jan Banning

YEMEN, 2006
Nadja Ali Gayt is an adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture’s education center for rural women in the district of Manakhah, Sana’a Governorate. Monthly salary: 28,500 rial ($160, €110).


Charlie says:

great photos… thanks for sharing.

Bureaucratics by Jan Banning

Monday, April 4th, 2011

According to photographer Jan Banning, It was, initially, “the most horrible assignment” that he had ever received.

“It seemed to be un-photographable,” he says. The assignment in question entitled Bureaucratics charged Banning with photographing the offices of business people and officials in eight different countries.

But what started as a tedious project, one that involved getting permission from high-ranking officials in places like Liberia and Yemen, ended with an introspective reflection into bureaucratic methods around the world, including Bolivia, China, France, India, Russia, and the US. “There is so much to be found in these photographs,” says Banning. “If you reflect on them, they will bring you something about that country, but possibly something about bureaucracy in general.”

After receiving permission to work in each location, Banning traveled from place to place, shooting 20 to 45 subjects in each country. “We had to be able to talk and photograph people without advance warning because that would mean they would start to clean up. And that would take us away from showing the natural habitat.”

In order to give a clear sense of the people photographed, Banning included the subjects’ salaries along with their images in the book. “I think their salaries give an idea of how people look at bureaucracy and an idea of its status and importance,” he says.

Although Banning’s work has consistently focused on the long-term consequences of war, his goals for Bureaucraticsdon’t include forcing an opinion onto viewers. “I try to make photography that is open. I would rather make people wonder and think than put the conclusions on their plates.”

View more of Jan Banning’s work, including his latest title,Comfort Women, at www.janbanning.nl


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