Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig

01

[Pitsunda, Abkhazia]

Over a decade ago on a cycling trip across Europe, photographer Christopher Herwig stumbled upon a curious phenomenon that would become his obsession for years: bus stops. Herwig has covered more than 30,000 km by car, bike, bus and taxi in 13 countries discovering and documenting these unexpected treasures of modern art.

02[Taraz, Kazakhstan]

The bus stops built by the Soviet Republic display remarkable diversity and creativity. Herwig made it his mission to photograph as many of these remarkable structures as possible, travelling from the shores of the Black Sea to the endless Kazakh steppe.

03[Niitsiku, Estonia]

By chance I discovered a phenomenon that set in motion a photographic journey that would span 12 years and 13 countries. Hunting for the most amazing road side bus shelters in the former Soviet Union would become my muse and my reason to travel.

04[Kootsi, Estonia]

During a cycling trip from London to St. Petersburg in the autumn of 2002 I set myself a photographic challenge to take one good photo every hour. It was on this trip that I first paid attention to the bus stops. The long hours in the saddle and slowly changing landscape along country roads in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia provided the setting for my discovery and the birth of my obsession. Here the designs mainly played with purely graphic shapes, each different stretch of road revealing a new set of creations to break up an otherwise bleak landscape.

05[Gagra, Abkhazia]

Between 2003 and 2006 I lived in Kazakhstan, and I explored the five ‘Stan’ countries and former Soviet states of Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Along these silk routes I found more fascinating bus stops, often appearing in the middle of the desert, steppe or countryside, with no other sign of human settlement in sight. It was as if the earth was its pedestal and nothing else on the endless horizon could compete with the bold statement it was making.

06[Falesti, Moldova]

My obsession grew and saw me hit the road further to visit five more former soviet countries: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Abkhazia, and later to revisit the Baltics, travelling thousands more kilometres by bus, rental car and taxi with the specific task of hunting down the very best bus stops. I was possessed. On a mission. Nothing was going to deter me from my hunt. I searched travellers’ blogs for clues, interrogated bus and taxi drivers and even scanned over the roads on Google Earth to plan what I believed would be most effective routes. I was not disappointed as each new discovery pushed to outshine the previous.

Text from photographer’s site

07

Πριν από μια δεκαετία, ο φωτογράφος CristopherHerwig, σε ένα ταξίδι του στην Ευρώπη, ήρθε αντιμέτωπος με ένα ιδιαίτερα αξιοπρόσεκτο “αρχιτεκτονικό φαινόμενο”, το οποίο έμελλε να αποτελέσει την καλλιτεχνική του εμμονή για τα επόμενα χρόνια: τις στάσεις λεωφορείων.

08

Αν και ο σχεδιασμός τους συνδέεται, ενδεχομένως για πολλούς, με την ομοιομορφία και την αισθητική ομοιότητα, οι στάσεις των λεωφορείων σε ορισμένες χώρες γίνονται βήμα δημιουργικότητας, ενισχύοντας την αρχιτεκτονική ποικιλομορφία.

09

Η αποστολή του Herwig ήταν να καταγράψει μέσα από το φωτογραφικό του φακό ακριβώς αυτό το γεγονός. Λετονία, Λιθουανία, Εσθονία, Ρωσία, Κιργιστάν, Ουζμπεκιστάν, Τατζικιστάν, Τουρκμενιστάν, Καζακστάν, Ουκρανία, Μολδαβία, Γεωργία και Αρμενία ήταν οι δικοί του “σταθμοί”, στους οποίους και απαθανάτισε τις αξιοπρόσεκτες αυτές δομές.

10

 

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5 thoughts on “Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig

  1. I love this, some of these structures are absolutely bonkers. I came across these photos when doing research on Soviet Modernism. Herwig has put together, or is putting together, a book with funding from Kickstarted. I’ll dig out the link and post it on here soon.

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