The Photographer Finding the Hidden Beauty of West Germany’s Bus Stops There are few skills more useful to an artist than the ability to show people the beauty in everyday life. But that is exactly the skill that German-based photographer Karl Banski has been able to hone. His series, Bushaltestellen, finds beauty in the bus stops of rural West Germany. You might note the subtle irony in the fact that, though his signature style is images without people in them, Karl has found it relatively difficult to keep a low-profile online – his portfolios are popular and respected. Karl’s Bushaltestellen series is a reminder that waiting at bus stops can be an interesting experience. If we stop and appreciate what’s around us, beauty is everywhere. We made a stop at Karl’s to find out more about his work. THE PLUS: Do you get to bus stops early or are the buses always late? Karl Banski: Honestly, I don’t know when the last time was that I took the bus! On my daily commute to university I used to take the subway which came every three minutes, so it was up to me whether I was early or late. TP: What was the inspiration? KB: The idea came to me as I was working as a photo reporter for a regional newspaper. My domain was the area between the Ruhr metropolitan area and the Dutch border. A mostly rural area of more than 2000 square-kilometres. Some days I would drive more than 400 kilometres for five printed photos, but I always enjoyed the drive. The bus stops I passed while driving seemed different to those in the city. Sometimes there would be just one or two houses in the vicinity so I started to think about the people who use them and how you seemingly could link the bus stop to those houses next to them. In this sense they struck me as a transition area between private and public space which I found very interesting. TP: How did you come across these bus stops? KB: Whenever I travel I always scout new additions to the collection. The photos are mostly taken in West Germany, some of them were taken while traveling along the former inner-German border. TP: How are you developing the series? KB: To date, the series consists of 15 photos – but of course I have taken more than that. Not all of the photos made the cut for the first chapter of the series, but as the series grows they may be reconsidered. TP: What equipment do you take with you? KB: For this series I have been using a Canon 5D mark ii with a 45mm Tilt-Shift Lens. TP: We hear you’re continuing the series later this year – where else will you go to photograph bus stops? KB: I moved to the area around Münster half a year ago, and of course I’ve done some scouting here, so this will be next for obvious reasons. But working at this series has proven to be a lot of fun and it is really exciting to see that everywhere you go, it works the same way but still has this unique feel to it. It is interesting how it interacts with the surrounding, the landscape and whatever special features there may be. So wherever I go next I am sure I will find something. TP: What’s Münster like? KB: Life is good there. I live in a pretty little town about 30 kilometres west.