Jan Banning
in Gaspé



On the Promenade Jacques-Cartier, between Jacques-Cartier (known as O’Hara) Point and Musée de la Gaspésie, and on Rue de la Reine | Gaspé

Born in Almelo, Netherlands, in 1954, Jan Banning lives and works in Utrecht. He studied history before turning to art photography.

His series Bureaucratics has been presented in over 20 countries on the five continents. He has seen his work appear in numerous publications and exhibitions, including Traces of War (2005), Comfort Women (2010), Down and Out in the South (2013) and Law & Order (2015).

Jan Banning has received the World Press Photo Award, and his work today can be found in numerous collections, including those of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.



The series Bureaucratics is a comparative photographic study of the culture, rituals and symbols of state civil administrations and their servants in eight countries on five continents, selected on the basis of political, historical and cultural considerations: Bolivia, China, France, India, Liberia, Russia, the United States and Yemen. In each country, Jan Banning visited up to hundreds of offices of members of the executive in different services and at different levels.

The photography has a conceptual, typological approach evocative of August Sander’s Menschen des 20 Jahrhunderts (People of the Twentieth Century). Each subject is posed behind his or her desk. The photos are full of telling details that sometimes reveal the way the state proclaims its power or else the bureaucrat’s rank and function, or are sometimes of a more private character and are accompanied by information such as name, age, function and salary. Although there is a high degree of humor and absurdity in these photos, they also show compassion with the inhabitants of the state’s paper labyrinth.