"The Salaryman" Story According to Subculture Photographer David Tesinsky


The salaryman is not just a mere businessman in Japan -- he is the "system", the ideal career of the society. Men are meant to work for long hours and demonstrate exceptional professionalism. Photographer David Tesinsky gives us an insight into ''The Salaryman''.

Hi David, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Firstly, what prompted your mission to photograph subcultures?

I was always interested in subcultures and primarily how each one has a philosophy or just simply a ‘way' which is a great space for me to find myself—or part of myself—in it and capture the real vibe of it.

It's often been reported that the Japanese work culture is harsher than the West. Which scenario did you come across that seemed to prove this while you were doing your series?

For years they would go out drinking with colleagues and clients, returning home drunk at 2 am before rising at dawn to head back to the office. Sometimes they just sleep in the streets because they cannot afford a taxi as they are only the sheeps of the huge corporates. They work daily 14 hours or even more. They are walking in the streets like self-centered ghosts, deeply focused on their own career that isn’t very bright. But visions are different: "Only 5 more years'' they tell themselves, ''and I will get to the higher position in this never ending pyramid..."

What do you think makes them unique among the other subcultures you photographed?

Well, probably sleeping in the streets, they are very good at that!

What about the business women? What were they like compared to their male counterpart?

I haven't seen drunk or tired women asleep in the streets, I've seen them drunk but they seem to be more "low key" than businessmen.

Share with us: so far the most important lesson you've learned as an independent documentarian?

That people are people. It's a really hard question for me.

Where do you draw inspiration from? Who are your muses?

When people behave oppressively towards animals, or people feel anger, the camera is a great weapon to kill ignorance. I'm hoping that it will open the public's eyes and create discussions that bring positive change to the world.

If you could work, collaborate or meet with any photographer or artist, who would it be, and what would you like to do?

I photograph alone. But it would be nice to have a live band soundtrack while I walk the streets with a camera. The Cure could be a moving stage playing their songs and following me.

Describe to us a day in the life of David Tesinsky?

Well, David Tesinsky wakes up, has a tea or coffee, and eats some vegan food. He usually then makes plans to shoot or he just spends time researching new subjects. And then, most probably, he goes out to have a few beers in the evening time as he is tired of working at home. This could be a very common non-wild day.

What do you usually do during your downtime? Any on-going projects, or other plans in the future?

Right now I'm planning to go to Ukraine, to the conflict zone and spend time with a female soldier unit. Also I'll probably go to Seattle and Oregon for a shoot of a hemp farm, and then go down to California with my friend. I'm also capturing the sexuality of the handicapped people.

Read our first feature of David here. Visit David's website and Facebook for more of his works.

written by Ciel Hernandez on 2017-11-04 #people #documentary-photography #david-tesinsky #salarymen


  1. mtsteve
    mtsteve ·

    This is very interesting, thanks for sharing.

  2. mmxi
    mmxi ·

    The bad thing about interviews with non-lomography residents is that they most likely will not see the comments on these articles. Anyway David if you see this, feel free to reach out (here on Lomography site) when you’re in Ukraine, near Zaporizhzhia. Can grab a cup of coffee together ;) Our city is not far from the war zone.

  3. photobarbie
    photobarbie ·

    Very interesting article & photos! I love reading about different artists projects, photos and the viewpoint behind it. Great thing bout this community is seeing a little bit of something we hadn’t thought of before & having a wider perspective because of it.

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