SALARYMAN PROJECT 2008, 2008
inkjet or lambda prints on various papers, 20cm x 26.7cm
SALARYMAN PROJECT (2006-present)
Salaryman: Japanese male office worker
between documentary style street photography and concept art
-Bill Kouwenhoven-HotShoe International
The Salaryman Project is both a tribute to Tokyos unknown office worker and a personal research about the issue of candid photography versus right to privacy.
A chance encounter
In October 2006, as I was walking in a forest near Mont Fuji, the enigmatic appearance of a salaryman complete with suitcase stopped me in my tracks. By framing the Japanese salaryman in Tokyos context, the project tries to reenact that initial enlightenment through street photography.
The right to privacy
Technology makes snapshot photography always easier. At the same time, increasing legal restrictions tend to conflict with the production of candid photography. Born in France, a country where portrait rights have nearly killed the tradition of street photography, I felt compelled to address this issue and decided to protect my subjects identities.
As a person who never worked in an office, I want to subjectively reveal the mystery and poetry hidden in the supposedly boring corporate world. On the other hand, by not individually portraying my models, I try to approach the idea of social normality that the Japanese concept of salaryman conveys. I try to give consistency to this series with objective research about social and cultural facts, but in return, this information fuels my imagination.
As a result, that project is a constant search of balance between cool detachment and personal identification.
The Business Schedule
The series comes in the form of a business schedule (now in its 3rd year). Since each page contains a photo, opening the schedule reveals a diptych. This time frame allows references to social events and to the turn of the seasons, so important to the Japanese mind.