Christopher Herwig didn’t plan on taking 9,000 photographs of bus stops across Central Asia, but that’s how the last 23 years have panned out.
A small fraction of those photos — taken in places like Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Ukraine — now make up the pages of Herwig’s new book, “Soviet Bus Stops.”
Each stop reimagines the simple construction of a bench encased by glass. Even in the middle of nowhere, they are functional pieces of art.
“People get this feeling that something’s been discovered,” Herwig says, “even if it’s sitting out in plain view.”
The disputed region of Abkhazia lies adjacent to Georgia. Though many have never heard of the region, Herwig says it contains many of his favourites from the collection.
Like this one, whose architect skipped designing a roof on artistic principle, Herwig says. 'It's just so monumental.'
Much of the small-scale architecture in the country is designed with religious imagery in mind, Herwig says.
In these desolate areas, most of the structures can be dozens of miles from the nearest town or bus stop, he explains.
'In Ukraine, if there were a lot of sunflowers around, you'd have a bus stop with sunflowers on it,' Herwig says. Local history and culture also made their way into the stops.
In Kyrgyzstan, for example, a dove's wings served as the shelter. 'That's one of the more far-stretching interpretations of a bus stop I've seen,' Herwig says. 'I quite like it.'
But his favourite overall is located in the Kazakhstan city of Taraz. 'It kind of looks like a dog,' Herwig says.
No matter if it's a simple shoebox design with pastel colours or something more complex, Herwig says, the shelters are designed to delight people.
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