Frederik Busch: German Business Plants, copyright 2018
Publisher: Kehrer Verlag
Texts: Jacob Birken, Annika Wind
Design: PBLC Design Hamburg
Lanugage: German, English
The seeds of work
On average, Germans change their employer every 10 years. During this time you can of course see colleagues coming and going, as well as office dogs or other animals. The only organic constant is often the office plants. A ficus or a cactus, if it could talk, would have a lot to report, as it survives many a human colleague. Frederik Busch photographed, or to be more precise, portrayed the plants in 50 different companies over a period of 8 years. Even these photographs would be interesting enough, as they show an often overlooked aspect of everyday office life. But he also characterizes them, gives them names and characteristics. This is not only very funny, because the characteristics he attributes to them always fit the photographs perfectly, he also takes them out of their function and gives them human characteristics. There’s the cactus that with effort and difficulty stretches a leaf into the air: „Ingrid doesn’t give up“ or „Mandy is politically active“ is the title of a vine that winds its way down. All plants were taken at their original places and so you can see where and how many green colleagues eke out their existence. On machines, under televisions, on a dangerous edge of a parapet.
Busch does not want to write a subtext on the economy of labour, the photographs are too isolated for that. But he does demand a little more attention: the plants are not only simple objects that serve a purpose, but also give pleasure to „colleagues“.
So it remains an entertaining work, not only for pencil pushers.