Bertien van Manen: Let's Sit Down Down Before We Go

"I have to like the people I photograph. I need to feel an attraction, a fascination." Bertien van Manen. Buried deep in Bertien van Manen's images is an intimacy between photographer and subject. The viewer trespasses on the private moments in the frame, catching a glare over breakfast, unheard words between friends, both party to the action and intruding on it. Between 1991 and 2009 van Manen travelled across Asia and Eastern Europe with a small, analogue camera, learning the local language and engaging with the people who would become the subject of this collection. Let's sit down before we go is a portrait of the places van Manen visited and the people she met, stayed with and became friends with during her travels across Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Siberia, Tatarstan and Uzbekistan. Across nearly two decades, with the exception of big cities, little about the scenery in van Manen's photographs has changed. The relative sameness of Russia's appearance binds the images together, leaving us no indication of the time lapse from one photograph to another. The title, Let's sit down before we go represents an old Russian tradition, the practice of taking a moment, stopping to think before embarking on a journey, to consider where we will be travelling to and why. A special edition of  Let's Sit Down Before We Go has recently been released by Mack Books and includes a hand made c-type print and first edition copy housed in a bespoke embossed linen clam-shell portfolio box.  Let's Sit Down Before We Go, the series, is also on view at the In Camera gallery in Paris until January 21.