London establishments are evidently quite concerned about what their hand dryers say about them, with many vying to turn this piece of equipment into an installation or disguise it within a shrine of decorations. Pubs and eateries in other cities seem less bothered. Petrol stations anywhere in the world? Absolutely, categorically, do not care about their hand dryers.
These are some of the implications of documentary photographer Samuel Ryde’s new photo book Hand Dryers, which takes us on a tour of the many places he’s visited by way of the hand drying equipment found on the walls of public bathrooms. The book comes off the back of his Instagram account of the same name, which he’s been running since 2014.
From London to Ukraine to LA, Ryde has hand curated his pick of the most unusual or eye-catching hand dryers, which sit alongside some unremarkable but necessarily practical iterations. Then, there are those in toilets where you know – you just know – the floor will be wet, soap is but a distant memory, and you can’t put the toilet seat up or down because there isn’t one.
Hand Dryers taps into our curiosity for what everyday objects look like in different parts of the country, or indeed the world. From launderettes to vending machines and now hand dryers, there’s evidently something quietly satisfying about seeing one thing in a hundred different variations.
The book makes for an interesting anthropological study – just the thing for a bit of light reading on the loo (before, of course, using the hand dryer).