The Wait by Samuel Napper

Photo series The Wait by Samuel Napper celebrates the people whose responsibility it is to wait. Shot entirely in Cape Town, this series receives a Best in Book award in CR’s Photography Annual 2018

No one likes waiting. And in today’s always-on, same-day-delivery world, we rarely have to wait for anything. But there are a group of people whose responsibility it is to wait. Wait for the next disaster to strike, the next wildfire to start, the next heart to stop.

“The world’s full of exciting imagery, but not necessarily compelling imagery,” says Samuel Napper, whose series The Wait documents the tense downtime experienced by emergency workers and police in South Africa. Originally, he’d planned to shoot London’s fire brigade, but after being turned down decided to take a different tack by heading to Cape Town for a month. Napper fell back on the persuasion skills he learned in his former career as a producer to convince reluctant subjects to let him take their photos, winning over the Voluntary Wildfire Services within an hour of arriving. By the end of his trip, he says he was struggling to keep up with all the people saying yes.