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From the Archive: A Study in Bureaucratics

After viewing “Bureaucratics” by Jan Banning at the HERE Arts Center in the West Village New York last night, I was determined to comb the archives for images of that ubiquitous figure on assignments – the bureaucrat – who only occasionally makes the cut of a final edit for publication or submitted for such. As Mr. Banning has gone to the trouble of forming clusters around nations and functions, my attempt to do the same with this selection of five from the archives.

First, from my own country taken from assignments for The New York Times and the non-profit investigative website ProPublica in Iowa, the Illinois statehouse, and the stagnating Indiana town of Elkhart.

Marriage license and vital records clerk Rebecca Badtram, Scott County Recorder’s Office in Davenport, Iowa on April 27, 2009, the first day same sex weddings are legal across Iowa.

Assistant to beleaguered Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Mary Stewart cleaning out her workspace adjacent to Blagojevich’s during the conclusion of his impeachment trial at the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois on January 29, 2009.

Elkhart, Indiana Mayor Dick Moore on April 8, 2009.

CONCLUSIONS: In America, bureaucrats’ functions range from managing city budgets to delivering coffee to the governor and packing up his desk when he is ousted on corruption charges. They also issue marriage and death certificates. To each, his or her own respective desk, office and accoutrement. Mary Stewart has the American Flag and Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore has a portrait of the first family with the White House seal behind it.

In the Turkic world, from Turkey and Azerbaijan functionaries of a religious and the intersection of business and government make an appearance in the archives.

From Azerbaijan, I have this image in a Baku highrise along the Neftciler Prospekt (Oil Workers’ Boulevard) of Shahmar Movsumov, the Executive Director of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan which is responsible for managing the foreign financial assets of the state’s oil wealth and operates independently of the the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), on July 20, 2010. A portrait of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev hangs over Movsumov’s desk.

And in Turkey, the mosque attendant at the Lala Pasha Mosque in the conservative northeastern city of Erzurum on the first night of Ramadan, August 11, 2010.