Richard Ross – Waiting for the End of the World


Richard Ross is one of those photographers who’s work never fails to make us react, be it with empathy or a shudder. Two series of images that have elicited our strongest responses are Juvenile In Justice that documents the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in prison-like facilities, and Architecture of Authority that captures the unsettling interiors of prison cells, detention facilities and spaces that are designed to exert obedience and influence over visitors that pass through their doors.

But the one set of images that made us smile, if only a slight ironic one, is his series Waiting For The End Of The World that documents underground shelters, built to protect humans (a lucky few) from a host of evils including a nuclear attack, the next world war, a possible alien invasion, and more images of Miley Cyrus twerking.

Ranging from those that have arrows that clearly point to their ‘secret’ location, come equipped with rocking chairs, balloons and pink cell doors, to those that are garnished with political propaganda and asbestos warnings, these shelters as Ross discovered, come in all shapes and styles.

Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, England, 2002


Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, England, 2002


Charlie Hull’s shelter, Emigrant, Montana, USA, 2003


Kitchen in Shelter Managed by Charlie Hull, Emigrant, Montana, USA, 2003

Charlie Hull’s Shelter, Emigrant, Montana, 2003


Shelter, Vitznau, Switzerland, 2003


Abbey Data Storage, Bellsize Park, London, England, 2002


Shelter, Conroe, Texas, USA, 2003


Shelter, Conroe, Texas, USA, 2003


Underground City, Beijing, China, 2003

Underground City, Beijing, China, 2003

Andair AG, Zurich, Switzerland, 2003


Public Shelter, Zurich, Switzerland, 2003


“The Trendy Griboyedov Club”, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2003


DEFREK, Cambridge, England, 2002


Anstruther, Scotland, 2004

All Images borrowed with thanks (c) Richard Ross

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