Photography

These charming photos of tiny people show the daily grind of office life

Seattle-based ad strategist Derrick Lin adds a dose of humour to everyday work struggles with a photo series about miniature people.

The series, which Lin began three years ago, features tiny people and the minutiae of daily office life. For instance, one image shows a character drowning himself in coffee, while another picture imagines a group of employees recuperating at the hospital from being overworked.

Other times, Lin also recreates popular artworks – such as the image above – as well as scenes of escape.

According to Lin, he makes these miniature scenes using office supplies – like pencils, notebooks, and paper clips – and shoots everything with an iPhone.

His setup is pretty simple, but the results definitely makes us laugh about our frustrations and boredom with the daily grind.

“My series is a constant reminder for me to always look on the brighter side of things and seek humor out of the little setbacks and obstacles I encounter,” he said.

We were lucky enough to talk to Lin recently about his work, as well as his upcoming book titled Work, Figuratively Speaking: The Big Setbacks and Little Victories of Office Life.

Take any inspiration from The Office for this series? Or just generic workplaces in general?

“About three years ago, I noticed that even though people share just about anything on social media, we rarely openly share the complaints we have about work. And yet we spend a large portion of our day at work and it is one of the biggest sources of our stress.

“Seeing the lack of outlet, I decided to challenge myself to tell the visual stories of the mundane moments of my advertising work life and insert humor in them. My way of circumventing the stigma of complaining about work is to focus on the thoughts and feelings and humanize them with miniature figures.”

Any advice on how to avoid these mundane stressful moments that we all experience so frequently?

“I am not sure how much we can avoid the dull or less-than-enjoyable moments, but with my series I have learned to look at them in a different light. I now try to seek the lighter and more humorous side of the stressful or annoying moments and laugh at them or myself.

“In doing so, the stresses have become less significant. To my surprise, my approach to work life has resonated with my followers around the world and I have been told the scenarios I depict are relatable to them.”

Tell us about how you put the series together: what did you use to create the work?

“All the photos I create are taken and edited on my iPhone and I use desk lamps and objects and stationaries typically available on an office desk as props. In creating every post on my Instagram feed, I pair the visual metaphor with a carefully crafted caption to help tease out the topic or the punchline.”

What’s next on your creative horizons?

“In the last three years, I have explored and visualized many emotions in the broad notion of being employed at a 9-to-5, Monday through Friday job. I realized it is a topic with multiple layers and multiple facets.

“After publishing my first photography book I will continue to explore more emotions and types of stresses and hopefully connect with more audiences via more platforms.”

You can see more of Derrick Lin’s work on Instagram or go grab a copy of his book Work, Figuratively Speaking: The Big Setbacks and Little Victories of Office Life over on Amazon.