As Slow Art Day participants, we know the sublime experience that we can have by slowing down to observe and truly take in a piece of art. We spend 10 minutes, 15 minutes—up to an hour—and encourage others to do the same. But we don’t think to suggest that people should spend all day everyday in front of the same artwork. It would never occur to us. Would anyone do that?
Art photographer Andy Freeberg found out when he noticed women sitting near certain art pieces in the State Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
These women are retired professionals who serve as guards in art museums all over Russia. They sit on chairs near a particular piece of art in the gallery, their presence so constant that they become part of the viewing experience. Freeberg noticed visual connections between the women and the art they were sitting with, which prompted him to begin taking photos that turned into the Guardians project, a photographic exploration of this uniquely Russian phenomenon.
Want to know more about the Guardians project? Check out the full article that editor Jennafer Martin wrote over on slowartday.com!