Since Yernar only works on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4, I have to wait for suitable opportunities as I am usually working myself at that time. As soon as a window appeared I gave him a call and he told me to come over and we’d shoot a session where he’s on his way to work. He really gets the idea about presenting some kind of narrative, and suggested showing the process himself. I wanted to make it seem like a normal procedure – leaving the apartment and going to work, albeit in a wheelchair. My goal here is to show that Yernar is completely capable and in control, despite the obvious barriers to that ‘normalcy’…
Once we left the apartment block, we headed for the ‘InvaTaxi’, a service that is provided free of charge by the municipal authorities. (Do I need to do some research about this service? After all, it is a hugely positive step on the part of the local government). I like the interaction with the taxi driver. These guys are really positive and very accommodating.
Here I wanted to get a shot of Yernar and the ARDI logo in the background, but since he was going up the ramp, Yernar was not really able to slow down so I just shot off a few frames. The logo is very small and in the wrong quadrant of the image to convey importance. Maybe I’ll try another time.
Once we arrive at the centre, the duty officer already has a document waiting for Yernar. He does a quick time check and heads up to the second floor in the lift…
Trying to get in touch with the client seems to be hard work, and in the last frame it looks as if Yernar is losing his temper! This is all great stuff, but I think I’ll use the third image, where he looks somewhat distraught but still in control.
By entering the lives and homes of these participants, I am not so much recording their daily lives, as mapping out their social identities – to the extent that I am photographing only what they themselves are willing to be made public. As Jonas Larsen points out in his 2006 essay Geographies of Tourist Photography, people weave places into the “webs of stories and narratives” people create in order to “sustain and construct their social identities” (p 255). As such, each place has some significance for the participants and must be presented in a certain way, with an appropriate activity, behaviour and demeanour shown.