Jan Banning from Netherlands is a historian and an award winning photographer, who had taken on a rather unique project. He plans to travel to ten countries around the world and shoot photos of government offices. This project is a comparative photo study of the culture and symbols of state power.
In each country, he aims at covering the whole hierarchy from top to low-ranking officials, from governor to local clerk, from fiscal authorities to prison authorities. Together they should give a balanced and representative view of the administration.
He recently shot a series of snaps of the Bihar government and for that he received a World Press Photo Award for Portrait Series in 2004.
So far, he has covered Bolivia, India, Liberia, Mozambique and Russia. Next on the list are The Vatican, France, USA, China and a Gulf Country. The project should be finished around 2008 and will result in a book and an exhibition.
In the pictures below, the individuals pose behind their desks, their bureaus, the place where they exercise their big or limited power. These are randomly chosen photos and the people showcased do not have the same ranks. In order of appearance : India (Bihar), Russia and Liberia.