The medium of photography has proven to be essential to a broad and diverse range of studies and efforts of human understanding—from astronomy, sociology, geography and cultural anthropology to athletics, news, politics and propaganda. The high-speed photography of Edgerton allowed us to see and understand the actions of a speeding bullet or a drop of milk. Muybridge settled bets about the way horses gallop (at times, they keep all four legs in the air, a phenomenon he captured with his camera). Photographers like Cartier-Bresson made use of the split-second freezing of time to capture iconic moments of street life, such as a man leaping over a giant puddle. Sports photographers still their subjects to capture the physical forms of Olympic medalists vaulting into graceful curves as they momentarily defy gravity (and normal human achievement) to establish new world records. Nature photographers reveal splendid moments of the wonders and mysteries of life. And on the less glorified end of the spectrum, we find relentlessly driven paparazzi with their long lenses trying to expose candid moments stolen from celebrities.
It’s interesting, too, when many of these varied approaches to photography are tapped to inform a single project. Traveling thousands of miles to the world’s megacities, Reinert Gerritsen situated himself in these financial hubs and observed the behavior of pedestrians in the streets. His resulting project, the cleverly titled “Bank Run,” records the public behavior of a sub-species—namely, those who physically scramble and hustle in the rarified worlds of high finance. He catches them candidly, mid-stride, as they literally run from one meeting to the next, pulling together signatures and pieces of big deals. The pictures reverberate with echoes of sports photography, big game safari hunting, sociological typologies and more.
We don’t normally think of bankers as world-class athletes, but they are under pressure to perform, and make deals, on a daily basis. A good deal can make millions, and a bad deal can lose just as much. Competition is stiff, and bosses are impatient. So the bankers hustle. And apparently they run, physically, from one appointment to another, these masters of the universe.
In finance capitals around the world, the game looks the same—and the players do not look that happy or healthy. Are these the people who will play crucial roles in our next big boom or bust?