Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjörk (1956-2015) is noteworthy for his deadpan snapshots of everyday suburban life in his home country. His early work as a photojournalist during the 1970s paved the way for his later career as a photographer. Lars said,
“I always try to be very visible as a photographer.”
“I don’t know how much I influence a situation, just by having a camera.”
Tunbjörk’s quirky take on the banalities of existence in the post-industrial age lead him to document life’s often overlooked moments with a sense of humor and wit. An exemplary photograph, Oland, 1991, depicts a comfortable-looking middle-aged couple relaxing in lounge chairs in the grass of a suburban Scandinavian development, accompanied by two small, yellow umbrellas. It is evident in his documentary-style work that Tunbjörk had an acute sense of what it means to live and work as a Swede.
Lars Tunbjörk’s awareness and exploration of color and composition are initially what caught my eye. However, as I continued to view and analyze his work, I began to find myself more attached to his narratives and the individuals he observed in his work. He certainly had a way of capturing each of his characters in a manner that allows them to speak for themselves. Even in his photographs that exclude the human form, his oeuvre is indicative of a pieced together portrait of Sweden’s contented and lively nature.