Jan wanted to photograph the civil servants as they would appear to their fellow citizens, so he showed up unannounced and photographed them at their desks before they had a chance to pose or tidy up.
For the portraits Jan collaborated with Will Tinneman to interview each civil servant, take biographical notes to accompany each photograph. The series culminated in a exhibition of 50 photographs and a photo book, which is unfortunately out of print.
A fun interview on the making of the series here.
USA, bureaucracy, Texas, 2007. USA-11/2007 [Ozo., SF (b. 1961)]. Shane Fenton (b. 1961) is sheriff of Crockett County (about 3000 inhabitants), Texas, and based in Ozona, the county seat. Monthly salary: US$ 3,166 (euro 2,356).
Russia, bureaucracy, Siberia, province Tomsk, 2004. Russia-19/2004 [Tom., MNB (b. 1962)]. Marina Nikolayevna Berezina (b. 1962), a former singer and choir director, is now the secretary to the head of the financial department of Tomsk province”s Facility Services. She does not want to reveal her monthly salary.
France, bureaucracy, Picardie, 2006. France-B03/2007 [Amb., LM (b. 1965)]. Laurence Maillard (b. 1965) works seven hours per week as town clerk in Ambrief (population 72), Aisne department, Picardie region. She holds the same position in another village nearby, working a total of 19 hours per week. Monthly salary: EUR 500 (US$ 657).
Bolivia, bureaucracy (police), 2005. Marlene Abigahit Choque (1982), detective at the the Homicide Department of the Potosi police. The department has only broken typewriters, no computer, no copy machine, not even telephone. It shares a car with the Vice Squad: “If there is no petrol in the car, we have to buy it from our own money. If the car is gone, we take the bus. We have to pay the tickets ourselves.” The head on the cupboard to the right is used to make witnesses of murder cases show where the bullets went in or out.Monthly salary: 920 bolivianos (euro 102, US$ 114).
France, bureaucracy, Auvergne, 2006. France-05/2006 [Cle., MW (b. 1949)/ LK (b. 1989)]. Maurice Winterstein (b. 1949) works in Clermont-Ferrand for the Commission for the Advancement of Equal Opportunity and Citizenship at the combined administrative offices of the Auvergne region and the Puy-de-Dome department. He also is in charge of the portfolio of religious affairs, Islam in particular. Monthly salary: euro 1,550 (US$ 2,038). The young lady next to him is Linda Khettabi (b. 1989), an intern pursuing training as a secretary.
Russia, bureaucracy, Siberia, province Tomsk, 2004. Russia-25/2004 [Tom., LVM (b. 1959)]. Lyudmila Vasilyevna Malkova (b. 1959) is a secretary to the mayor of the city of Tomsk, Tomsk province. She and her colleague take turns, working every other day, seven days a week, at least 12 hours a day. Monthly salary: 10,500 rubles (US$ 375, euro 285).
India, bureaucracy, Bihar, 2003. India-19/2003 [Tha, SKM (b. 1946)]. Surinder Kumar Mandal (b. 1946) is circle inspector of taxes in Thakurganj block, collecting taxes in a specific part of Kishanganj district, State of Bihar. Monthly salary: 9,500 rupees ($ 208, 189 euro). Surinder Kumar Mandal (b. 1946) is “circle inspector” van belastingen in Thakurganj Block, Kishanganj district, State of Bihar. Maandsalaris: 9,500 rupees (euro 189, US$ 208).
Yemen, bureaucracy, 2006. Yemen-35/2006 [AIM., AAN (b. 1982)]. Alham Abdulwaze Nuzeli (b. 1982) works at the regional office of the Ministry of Tithing and Alms in the city of Al-Mahwit, Al-Mahwit governorate. Monthly salary: 12,000 rial (US$ 67, euro 46).Behind her a portrait of president Saleh of Yemen.
China, bureaucracy, Shandong, 2005. China-06/2007 [Jin., QSF (b. 1964)]. Qu Shao Feng (b. 1964) is chief general of Jining Public Security Bureau Division of Aliens and Exit-Entry Administration in Jining City, Shandong province. Monthly salary: 3,100 renminbi (US$ 384, 286 euro).
Liberia, bureaucracy, 2006. Liberia-37/2006 [Cro., JMS (b. 1959)] J. Modesco Siaker (1959), township commissioner in Crozierville, Careysburg district, Montserrado County. Crozierville had 10,000 people before the war; now 4,000. In 1990, Taylor’s rebels entered the village: “I was a clerk then, and they threatened to execute me and some others. They let me go, but killed 2 others.” They ransacked houses and public buildings. In 1991, INPLF rebels (Prince Johnson c.s.) and Ecomog peacekeepers stole what was left. Since 1997, Siaker is back in his village. His office and home are in a derilict villa: the town hall was raised to the ground.Siaker cannot do much for his people. He earns 750 Lib. dollar (US$ 13, euro 12.50) a month.
India, Bihar, bureaucracy, 2003. Typeroom in the Finance Department of “the Old Secretariat” in the state capital Patna. The seemingly rusty old typewriters are awaiting use: the department is supposed to be 40% understaffed. The presence of several snoring employees gives a different suggestion.