The Waiting Room Project adds another contributor. This guest post is from a friend who takes the Los Angeles Expo line from her home in Santa Monica to work downtown. She has been posting wonderful pictures of her journeys, and today, sent me this one. I love it. It embodies everything of what the Project is about. Excellent photography taken with a smartphone (in this instance a Galaxy III), the variety of waiting areas, the feeling of a nearly abandoned space, and there, in the distance, a lonely soul or two waiting for the train. Perfect.
I am excited that the WRP is gaining a little traction with other people. Please send me your waiting room photos to share. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be a room. I will be posting them as they come in, and want to thank all the contributors past and future, in advance, for taking this project to another level.
Here we are in another doctor’s office. This one is an ambulatory surgery center in Santa Monica. I was there for a minor procedure to ease the pain in my arthritic hips. They inject an anesthetic and a steroid to reduce the inflammation. I have had a few of these treatments, but sadly, they are only marginally effective, and last but a few months. The curative treatment is complete hip replacement.
The surgery center’s waiting room is a bright airy space with polished wood floors and an abundance of reading material. In fact, the header photograph for the Waiting Room Project main page is the reverse view of this room. Note the figure emerging from the elevator in the background.
The treatments went well, but I have now progressed to the point where I will have my first hip replacement this Monday. While I can’t promise anything, I will do my best to shoot at least one photo before I go in for the operation.
Waiting is a transitory activity. While you are in the waiting room, you look for things to help pass the time. Magazines, your iPhone, conversation, meditation. Whatever you find to do, it isn’t really why you are there. Wouldn’t you rather be sitting on your couch reading National Geographic? Sitting at your desk checking your emails? But no, you are here filling the minutes, trying to turn that non-time into something vaguely productive. How long you will remain is a fluid interval. It might be five minutes. It might be half an hour. I once waited for a doctor for more than an hour. And that was before the iPhone.
Finally, your name is called and you leave the limbo of waiting for whatever it is you have been waiting for. Here, one lucky soul has escaped and is on his way to fulfillment. Others here aren’t so fortunate.
This photo appeared on my friend W’s Facebook page a few weeks ago. He is an accomplished photographer as you can see from the dynamic composition and critical framing. Knowing my penchant for waiting room photos, he tagged me in the post. I think it is a great shot, and in fact, it gave me inspiration to begin photographing myself in the waiting room situations. Stay tuned for some of these selfeets, coming soon.
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.
Here are two photos sent by M.M. I don’t have any info other that to infer the was at the doctor’s. While not technically a ‘waiting room’, it is clear that he was waiting for his health care professional and needed something to do while he was waiting. Thank you, M.
Keep those guest photos coming. If you have a photograph you would like to share, please use the Contact the Project form, and I’ll send you my email address so you can send me your picture. This project belongs to everyone.
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.
My cousin T’s son E, started a home care business in Phoenix. When we were visiting them in July of 2014, he gave us a tour of his new offices. They hadn’t even moved in, and yet, they had the waiting room set up.
When I was working full time for a major post-production facility, one of the benefits was full medical insurance including optical. The photo is of the last time I visited this optician with my insurance for my free eye exam and pair of glasses. With the loss of my ‘vision’ insurance, I now see an ophthalmologist for my eye-care needs which is covered by my current medical insurance. I buy the glasses and the packs of contacts at Costco.
I began wearing glasses at age 10 when I realized that by squinting, the writing on the blackboard at school became clearer. In high school I sported old fashioned wire rimmed spectacles with rose-tinted lenses. I looked like a cross between Jerry Garcia and John Lenon. Later I graduated to soft contact lenses which gave me my peripheral vision back, it was nearly as much a revelation as when I put on glasses for the first time and the world snapped into clear focus.
For the past many years I have worn “disposable” lenses which advertise the ability to sleep with them in. One of the things I hated about contact lenses, in fact the only downside, is having to take them out and fuss with them. In the early days, we would have to remove them nightly, put them into a special appliance and disinfect them by heating. What a royal pain.
Now, with this latest breakthrough in optical science, I could go for weeks without having to touch them; my ophthalmologist was horrified to learn that. She has gradually convinced me to take them out every couple of days to clean and disinfect with a new all-in-one solution. No heat necessary.