The poet Philip Levine (1928-2015) once said, “I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it’s the home of the extraordinary, the only home.” That sentiment perfectly applies to the work of Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjork (1956- 2015).
Tunbjork specialized in photographing the ordinary, the everyday, the mundane. His brilliance lay in his photographing those scenes in ways that made us reconsider them and see them in new, fresh ways.
Here is his take on the modern office:
And his observations on people in a variety of settings:
I recently attended the Society for Photographic Education’s national conference in Baltimore. Joan Fontcuberta was a keynote speaker (articulate, funny, thoughtful- every keynote speaker should be so engaging!) and he said many things that really struck me. He was talking at one point about photographic truth, a topic with which he has been intensively engaged throughout his career. (Go to his website and you’ll see what I mean.)
He said, “In today’s world, photography is Google.” He went on to explain that, back when photography was born in the 19th century, everyone looked at it as the ultimate arbiter of Truth. If it was photographed, then what was seen in the photograph must be true. It did not take long for photographers to challenge this notion. And today, people treat the internet the same way. We search for information on Google and tend to believe that whatever results we find are true, even though we know that isn’t so.
I found his notion really interesting, and had something to chew on for the rest of the conference.
I’m not completely sure why I keep finding photographs that refer to 15th-to 17th century Dutch and Flemish painting, but they just seem to fall in my lap sometimes. I’ve already posted about the work of Nina Katchadourian and Hendrik Kerstens, and here is another take on the same idea by Eric Klemm:
They are all clever, beautifully done, eye-catching and thought-provoking. They definitely make me want to try my own hand at it!