Three years ago I accidentally embarked on this project. For one reason or another, I found myself in a succession of waiting rooms. On one of these days, while I waited, I saw a particularly photogenic chair and snapped a photo with my iPhone. A few days later, in another waiting room, I began to notice that these spaces had their own particular aesthetic about them. So I took another picture. And then, a week later in a different room, another. And another. And another. I realized that these special areas dedicated to waiting were everywhere, and I set out to photograph them. Over the years I have amassed over 400 photos of every imaginable variety of waiting place.
While reviewing this chronicle, I discovered I had created a self-portrait of my own life, a photographic journal of my journey these past three years as seen through the places I had been and what I had waited for. What began as something to do while I was waiting for my son Jake at the doctor’s, grew into a more philosophical exploration of the whole idea of waiting, and as an unintentional by-product, a catalog of all the places I have waited for something or somebody, and as it turns out, the story of those years.
Haircuts, new tires, lunch at Chinese restaurants, dentist appointments, a new stove, bathroom accessories, cell phones, a clean car, prescription medicine, office supplies, banking, legal documents, art museums, rounds of golf, hospital emergency rooms, manicures, job interviews, new eyeglasses, new clothes, new shoes, construction supplies, accountants, pastrami sandwiches, the beginning of a new business, life and death – it’s all here. Each photo has a story of some kind behind it that links to life in a greater sense than just standing in line at the bank, or waiting for a slice of pizza.
There is a peculiar dynamic present in these places, they are not destinations, but rather transitional spaces where we wait for something else. They are fraught with their own emotional triggers which differ radically. You feel vastly different waiting for a root canal than waiting for your table at a favorite restaurant, waiting for your new tires to be installed, waiting in line at Disneyland, or waiting for the results of a medical test.
The energy in a crowded waiting room is distinctly different from one where you are the only occupant. An empty waiting room possesses a unique tension. A waiting room without people is an unfilled space; the room waits for the waiters.
I will be posting the photographs in roughly chronological order and will share some of the journey with you and the meaning behind many of these photos. This is an ongoing project, a work in progress. As are our lives. Please feel free to comment or share a photo or an experience you have had while waiting for …
On a technical note, all of the photographs have been made with the iPhone and and the Hipstamatic app. All are in native black and white using varying combinations of lenses and films. They have received no, or in some cases minimal, post-processing adjusting only contrast and brightness where I deemed necessary. All photographs are copyrighted 2016 by Edward Colman, all rights reserved.