The Waiting Room. Bill Crandall (USA).
Photographs by Bill Crandall
Text by Victor Martinovich (English/Russian)
Printed and bound by SVECONWAY, January 2012. First edition of 500, signed.
Belarus, a post-Soviet country “squeezed between Europe and Russia”. The most common association is probably Chernobyl and current political regime referred to as “the last dictatorship in Europe”. No surprise that those few photographers who get to that part of Europe, focus on one of those issues. Bill Crandall did something very different. He came to Belarus to document everyday life and he spent one decade visiting the country: observing, learning, reflecting.
Belarusian society in black and white images through the lens of an outsider. It is very personal project: Crandall shoots with a distance, yet gets very close to those ordinary people, their lives, culture, country. A girl on a trolley-bus, an old man smoking, a guy with bicycle on the road, people on the streets. Kaleidoscope of life: festivals, circus, ice fishing, sauna, theater, memorials, concerts, bus stop. Some images are just surreal, others are very intimate, many are captivating but all of them create beautiful and intriguing narratives about a person, a Belarusian.
The book has a strong title which along with a cover picture and Bill Crandall’s short note, identifies Belarusians: “Clocks tick more slowly in waiting room. So you tend to internalize, to meditate on your past and future, your dormant anxieties and wishes. The air may have gone stale, and no one really know when, or from which too they’ll be called. But Belarusians are stoic people. They know how to wait”.
The Waiting Room is a softcover book in perfect binding. The printing reminds books from years ago, however, it goes just perfect with the photographs of the country where life seems “frozen in time”. A great book for anybody interested in Belarus and for Belarusians themselves, of course.