christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops

Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig

 

During a bike ride from London to St. Petersburg in 2002, Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig found himself fascinated by the unique architecture of Soviet-era bus stops that he came across. Setting himself the challenge of capturing a compelling photo every hour, he began discovering creatively designed bus stops along deserted road sections.

 

Over the span of 12 years, Herwig covered more than 18,000 miles across 14 countries of the former Soviet Union, employing various modes of transportation like cars, bikes, buses, and taxis to locate and record these eye-catching bus stops. Herwig’s interest in these stops led to the creation of two photography books and an extensive documentary showcasing his pursuit of these bus stops across regions from Ukraine to Uzbekistan, Armenia to Far Eastern Siberia.

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Taraz, Kazakhstan | all images courtesy of Soviet Bus Stops

 

 

preserving the memory of soviet bus stops

 

Architecture in the Soviet period was under strict centralized supervision. Although monumental art aimed to promote the communist state’s narrative, the unassuming bus stops often went unnoticed. As a consequence, numerous architecturally distinctive bus stops are now scattered across the former Soviet Republic. Crafted by individuals who chose to follow their own creative impulses, these stops became a means of expressing local and artistic concepts in a modest form. Constructed as subtle acts of ingenuity amidst pervasive state control, these bus stops stand as testaments to individual creativity.

 

The bus stops captured by Christopher Herwig (find more here) showcase a wide range of original styles and types, from the most stringent forms of Brutalism to exuberant designs full of color. Spanning a period of seven years, the documentary titled Soviet Bus Stops (find more here) shadows the Canadian photographer during his expeditions in search of these bus stops, listening in as he seeks answers as to how these unique creations came to exist. Faced with a lack of historical records and puzzled by their origins, Herwig embarks on a journey to trace several of the creators. Along the way, he finds not only inspiration but also a renewed conviction that these exceptional bus stops deserve to be preserved in memory.

 

Today, burdened by the historical context of their creation, numerous bus stops have met the fate of demolition or have been dismissed as peculiar and embarrassing relics. Few perceive them with the same fascination as Herwig does. Herwig’s two-decade endeavor in photographing hundreds of bus stops serves as an endeavor to immortalize them before they are all demolished.

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Pitsunda in the disputed region of Abkhazia/Georgia

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Saratak, Armenia

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Echmiadzin, Armenia

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Gudauta in the disputed region of Abkhazia/Georgia.

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Gudauta in the disputed region of Abkhazia/Georgia

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Hrazdan, Armenia

 

 

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Echmiadzin, Armenia

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Shymkent, Kazakhstan

soviet-bus-stops-photographer-christopher-herwig-captures-the-unsual-architecture-designboom-full-02

the Elephant bus stop in Georgia

 

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Vanadzor, Armenia

soviet-bus-stops-photographer-christopher-herwig-captures-the-unsual-architecture-designboom-full-04

Gulistan region, Uzbekistan

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Falesti, Moldova

christopher herwig's documentary uncovers the curious case of soviet bus stops
Sobinka, Russia

 

 

 
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Gagra, Disputed Region of Abkhazia/Georgia
Gagra, Disputed Region of Abkhazia/Georgia
Vanadzor, Armenia
Vanadzor, Armenia
Argveta, Georgia
Argveta, Georgia
Pitsunda/Bichvinta in the disputed region of Abkhazia/Georgia
Pitsunda/Bichvinta in the disputed region of Abkhazia/Georgia
Krasnoselskoye, Russia
Krasnoselskoye, Russia
Saransk, Russia
Saransk, Russia
1
 
1
 
Omsk, Russia
Omsk, Russia

project info: 

 

name: Soviet Bus Stops
photographer: Christopher Herwig

 

production info: 

production countries: Denmark, Canada, UK, Sweden, Latvia
duration: 60 minutes
year of completion: 2022
languages: English, Ukrainian, Russian, Estonian, Lithuanian
subtitles: English

from the books: Soviet Bus Stops and Soviet Bus Stops Volume II

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