All these images are from the St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica. Most of them were taken during a visit there in January of 2015. As previously noted, hospitals are rife with waiting areas of all sizes and comfort levels, and varying degrees of aesthetic value. I think the top left is my favorite. It perfectly encapsulates the essence of what is it to wait.
Doesn’t this look like a lovely living room? All that’s missing is a fireplace and some floor lamps. Well, it’s a primary waiting room in a hospital. Look at all the reading material, the TV, the comfy couches and chairs. There is even free wi-fi. Yep, you’re going to be here a while.
We were there for a minor medical issue, and I had the chance to prowl around looking for waiting areas to photograph. We were there at night, so the usually bustling hospital had the lonely deserted air most do when the crowds of people leave. Hospitals have been some of the most productive places in this project because of the abundance of waiting spaces, large, medium, and small. As previously noted, there is a lot of waiting surrounding the medical profession. Too many sick people and not enough doctors.
I have a couple of health issues that require regular blood tests every year or so. Nothing serious, just routine monitoring. I usually just have the blood drawn at the doctor who is requesting the test, but for some reason, I had to go to St. John’s for this particular test. I don’t exactly recall what it was, but I found myself in the well-lit waiting room and discovered this photo. Yes, that’s the tip of my finger sneaking in the top left corner; darn iPhone and its microscopic camera. Some might say it ruins what would otherwise be a splendid work of art, a commentary on the philosophical aspect of waiting. I could spend an hour trying to Photoshop it out, or just leave it as an organic part of the image, a bit of authenticity. More a commentary on my fat fingers. I’ve been taking pictures for more than 50 years and still can’t keep my damn fingers away from the lens. So much to remember.
We visited my cousin in Phoenix, well, actually Scottsdale a few times during 2014. Both she and her mother had some medical challenges and we found ourselves spending a bit of time in hospitals. Fortunately, nothing serious. Mostly testing. As I have observed, hospitals are rich sources of material for the Waiting Room Project. From cavernous waiting arenas, to a couple of chairs and a plant, you can find plenty of variety, with and without people. There is a lot of waiting going on all over the building. My favorite of this series is the first one in the upper left. Which one do you like?
I had taken my mom to Kaiser for some tests before a minor procedure she was having. While she waited, I prowled the halls looking for some of the multitude of waiting areas found in any hospital. These are two of the most interesting photos.
The West LA medical center is huge. Several buildings cluster around a central courtyard: the main hospital, medical offices, gift shop, cafeteria, parking structure – all the usual suspects. More buildings lurk behind the main wing. It serves thousands of people daily many of whom will wait in these rooms, or ones just like them.
Late in July, while we were having lunch, Jake complained about pain in his legs and back. It became so severe we ended up in the emergency room late that afternoon and into the evening. Once he was seen, tests proved inconclusive, and in the interest of caution, they admitted him to the hospital pending more tests by the neurosurgeon. After a couple of days, they couldn’t find anything specifically wrong with him other than his chronic disk issues, and discharged him. But during his brief sojourn we had ample time to explore the vast and varied waiting areas in the hospital. The top three are of the emergency room proper and an adjoining area. The bottom two are late the next night as we were leaving the hospital. The photograph at the bottom right pretty much sums up the entire hospital waiting experience. A long lonely dimly lit corridor stretching into the distance, a solitary figure hunched over his phone waiting for …