Jan Banning was born in the
Bureaucratics is an ambitious portrait project by Dutch photojournalist and fine art photographer Jan Banning, shot over several years and spanning eight countries on five continents, “honing in on the typically anonymous civil servant, who, anywhere in the world, makes up a small cog in the gigantic machinery of the state.” These 50 low-level bureaucrats include tax collectors, traffic wardens, and agricultural and religious officials, among others, found in
Bolivia, China, France, India, Liberia, Russia, USA, and . The work was produced in collaboration with Dutch writer Will Tillemans, who contributes interview details on each portrait subject including date of birth, daily responsibilities, and salary. Yemen
Worldwide State Power
Piles of files and meters of archives are stereotypical of bureaucracy. Every citizen, no matter where in the world, has to deal with this executive power full of laws and regulations. Everybody stands at the desk of a civil servant in order to obtain a passport, license or registration, without really seeing the immigration - or tax officer in charge. It is via this project in words and pictures called ‘Bureaucratica' that Tinnemans and Banning give an identity to civil servants worldwide and point out both the differences and the similarities between the rural clerk in Bihar, India, the sheriff in Texas, USA, and the governor in Shandong, China. From the point of view of the visitor and with a clear sense of symmetry Banning portrays all the civil servants in a more or less similar way. The desk, whether it is a simple table or a shiny piece of office furniture, is what separates the individual from the regulations.
Traces of War: Survivors of the Burma and Sumatra Railways, Trolley Books, 2005 is a publication of photographs and interviews between Banning and 24 Dutch and Indonesian men including the photographer's father who were forced to build railroads for the Japanese during World War Two.
View the series online at: