A Photographer Spends A Decade Photographing Same Bench, Capturing More Than He Expected

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One of the most ubiquitous sights in any city around the world is the humble park bench: a meeting spot for friends, a place to grab lunch or perhaps a smoke, and maybe a quick snooze. Usually, such mundane activities fade easily into the background of our busy lives and we would hardly stop to notice the goings on around a small public meeting spot, but for Ukrainian photographer Yevgeniy Kotenko, one such bench has turned into the rich body of photography spanning over a decade titled On the Bench.

In a working-class suburb of Kyiv, friends gather…

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Lovers meet…

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And drinkers drink.

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While the faces change, the park bench (barring the occasional paint-job) remains the same.

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This photo series, shot from the fourth-floor window of Yevhen Kotenko’s parents’ kitchen, captures life around a wooden bench in the Dniprovskyy suburb of the Ukrainian capital. (The exact location of the bench is here.)

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Photographer Kotenko (pictured) began capturing life on the bench in 2007 or 2008. The 36-year-old told RFE/RL: “I didn’t give myself any time limits or goals, I just went to the kitchen and looked out the window. Usually, there was something to see.”

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Kotenko says he has fond childhood memories of the neighborhood that he grew up in, “but there were a lot of bad things, too, that are better not to think about.”

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What do you think?

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