A Human Condition



The appearance of metropolises such as New York, Tokyo or Stockholm, is strongly determined by impressive, yet somewhat mundane skyscrapers, of which many function as office blocks. Most of us do not have access to these shielded places, owned by big companies, and may wonder what is happening inside. If you imagined business days in there to be as sophisticated as the polished steel and glass facades suggest, Lars Tunbjörk proves you wrong. He is representing the nightmarish side of these office worlds, tapping into their desolate uniformity. 

To obtain approval for photographing these company headquarters it took him some effort and persuasive power. Finally, using his contacts to The Times, Tunbjörk was able to begin with his project in 1994. Back then he could hardly imagine that it would turn into an odyssey that should last five years and take him to three different continents. In every country he found the same office environments, made of sterile walls, electric cables, cold cafeterias and desolate indoor plants. 

As depressing and artificial as these surroundings may appear, Tunbjörk manages to convey underlying humorous aspects. Through his eyes these uniformed and seemingly boring places become fascinating settings for the people, who are working there and their absurd actions. By trying to photograph “like an alien or a small child”, he transforms everyday objects and scenes into something completely new, revealing their inherent oddness and beauty. Consequently, his series might be read as a subtle but forceful call for rebellion. He constitutes a critique of a merciless system, which is bearing down on the lives of those who need to earn it. 

More images of Lars Tunbjörk's series 'Office' here