MODUS OPERANDI, (joint show with Anne Kay), Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 15/8/02 - 14/9/02
26 bus stops consists of a series of 26 photographs. Each photograph is of a bus stop in southeast Poland taken in Sept. 1999. Theses images were methodically taken while travelling between the towns of Kosina and Solina in southeast Poland, almost always from a moving vehicle. The resulting series presents a collection of utilitarian structures framed by glimpses of the surrounding landscape. The structures are defined as much by their lack of mobility as by their purpose and design, each bus stop acting as a potential stoppage to flow and movement. Collectively the images remap the countryside, replacing the topographic conventions of cartography with a series of open-ended descriptions that encourage a more speculative involvement with the landscape.
On a strictly formal level the images act as a catalogue of the architectural codes and building methods employed in the construction of the bus stop shelters. For the most part the bus stops pictured date back to pre 1989, and as such can be viewed as the remnants of the Soviet controlled Polish state. Read within such a framework the range of approaches employed in the construction of the shelters point toward the harsh political and economic realities of post world war II Poland. From the simple form-follows-function approach of many of the shelters to the more elaborate structures that employ signage reminiscent of constructivist design, these humble shelters provide a wealth of detail.
However, it is my intention that these photographs are not viewed solely in terms of typological survey. Unlike most typological photographic projects the images do not conform to strict pictorial conventions. The position of the subject within the frame and the point of focus are dictated as much by incessant movement as by intention. Often, the bus stops pictured present a lonely and forlorne presence in the landscape, empty and secluded. One cannot help but think of the hours spent waiting at these non-places, of the connections made and missed and journeys taken. When people appear in the pictures, as they occasionally do, their presence is undramatic, contained by the structures they temporarily inhabit.
click on an image below to view an enlargement.