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Agence VU - Lars Tunbjörk
Lars Tunbjörk

Represented by Gallery VU'.
Swedish. Born in 1956 in Boras in Sweden. He passed away in 2015.

Whether creating an acid portrait of Sweden, representing the nightmarish world of business offices, tapping into the desolate uniformity of petrified, petit-bourgeois neighbourhoods, examining the state of marginalised peoples in a nation praised for its system of social protection, or exploring the strangeness of a town on the cusp of the Arctic Circle, Lars Tunbjörk has totally forgotten his black and white beginnings.

All his energy is now devoted to the exploration of colour, which he approaches in the style of 1970’s American photographers. This is his starting point for questioning the world, a series of interrogations more than observations, which he develops without pessimism but with an undeniable affliction softened by a biting humour. Over time, his approach has become radicalised and purified by being less and less anecdotal. Consequentially, his series no longer represents characters but rather the often absurd track of their presence and their actions.

Lars Tunbjörk exhibits his work all over the world (Germany, Russia, Island, England, Sweden, Japan, France…). In 2009 he took part in the PhotoPhnomPenh Festival in Cambodia, during which some of his photographs were exhibited in order to represent Sweden. The latest exhibition took place in Toulouse in 2013, where Lars Tunbjörk presented I Love Boras, Office and Vinter.
His works belong to the collections of museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in Stockholm, the Centre Pompidou and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Museet for Fotokunst in Denmark or the Fotomuseet in Norway.

His photographic series were combined in several books like, amongst others, Office published by the Journal Editions in 2002, Home, published by the Steidl Editions in 2003, Vinter, copublished with the Musée d’Art Moderne de Stockholm by the Steidl Editions in 2007, I Love Boras, published by the Steidl Editions in 2007, or Every Day, published by the Diaphane Editions in 2012, where the photographer explores the city of Beauvais in Picardie.
His most recent work is Going Mobile (2014), where he documents the populations in the United States who chose to live in mobile-homes.

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Sweden (2018)

During his lifetime, Lars Tunbjörk has drawn an acidic portrait of contemporary life in Sweden, his home country. He always noticed greatness in the ordinary, whether representing the nightmarish world of business offices or the desolate uniformity of petrified, petit-bourgeois neighborhoods, examining the state of marginalized people in a nation praised for its system of social protection, or exploring the strangeness of a town on the cusp of the Arctic Circle. "I decided to only photograph things that I knew. " He explained. Lars Tunbjörk quickly forgot the black and white of his beginnings. From close-up portraits to still life, from empty spaces to radical landscapes, he...

Philip Roth, reinventing America (2018)

The American novelist Philip Roth passed away at the age of 85. Worldwide celebrated for his work and the painting it draws of contemporary America, the author of American Pastoral and Portnoy's Complaint had announced his retirement a few years ago. Lars Tunbjörk had met him in 2003 and, for a day, walked with him through the streets of Newark, his hometown and the settings of several of his novels. More than just a serie of portrait, the photographer is proposing here a true research work on the writer and his books. Philip Roth is photographed in situation, in spots that, without being in his novels, are as imaginary. it is Philip Roth in Philip Roth's America: a reinvented America.

Every day (2014)

When Lars Tunbjork approaches Beauvais (France-Picardie) he immediately recognizes other places that he has already experienced as an explorer, a situation of every photographer encounters when he discovers a new fragment of the universe. Therefore, he shows us faces – frontally, up-close - , residential areas, companies, and, all around, what remains of nature. In the region's offices he sees what we can't see as we don't share his approach. Offices where the absurd spatial organization, invasion by machines and weariness of individuals only equal the pathetic presence of a green plant lost in the dark purple tones of an open-space cluttered by files, interact with the surprise of a...

Going Mobile (2014)

Americans of a hard-pressed middle class who want to change their life, people feeling nervous about retirement, or businessmen who see the lowly mobile home as their vehicle to financial freedom; they are all here for the Mobile Home University lessons. This intensive three-day course is about how to strike it rich in the trailer-park business. There are 8.6 million mobile homes in the United States, according to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report and an estimated 12 million people live in an actual trailer park. A way to travel in comfort on long trips before motels lined the roads, the mobile home is now a low cost housing. A booming market in times of economical crisis. Did Warren...

The largest falcon hospital in the world (2013)

For centuries, falcons have been revered in the Middle East for their beauty, fierce demeanor and superb hunting ability. So it is fitting that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is home to the largest hospital for falcons in the world, where falcons are treated in operating rooms, an ophthalmology department and a pox area. (There is even a large intensive-care unit for the sickest birds.) When Dr. Margit Muller, the hospital’s director, describes a typical day there, it sounds much like a place devoted to the treatment of human patients: conducting rounds, checking up on the administration of medication, surgery. “Falcons are regarded like children in a family,” Muller...

Iowa Republican Caucus (2012)

Lars Tunbjörk didn’t have to look very far to find, in the middle of no where in the US, what makes his work so special… Which is the sudden appearance in what seams like a perfectly normal daily life of absurd and comical situations. On his assignment to cover the Iowa Republican’s caucuses, Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjork is following the candidates on their electoral marathon. Mormon Mitt Romney and his wife Ann shaking hands in small town’s gymnasium, devout Rick Santorum praying before a plate of nachos, Rick Perry getting the crowd riled up, and finally Newt Gingrich accompanied by Ellis the Republican Elephant…They are all offering to the photographer’s lens their own version...

The Shoppers Republic of China (2011)

While many countries are still reeling from the global financial crisis, China is witnessing a frenzy of consumer spending, encouraged by its government. Having leapfrogged America last year to become the world’s second-biggest consumer of luxury goods — behind Japan — China now has a 200m-strong middle class that is eager to part with its disposable income. The wedding industry is thriving, with couples willing to spend thousands and book their perfect day years in advance. An ever-increasing number of malls and department stores are packed to the rafters with everything from bedding to top-of-the-range white goods. All this is not just good news for China: while its citizens are...

Really Extreme Makeover (2010)

It’s one thing to renovate a house. It’s quite another to turn a cave — or a water tower or a church — into a home. Lars Tunbjork traveled from England to Canada and the United States to Germany to meet these eccentric residents who made their living spaces into exceptional houses. In Kyloe in English Northumberland, a family transformed an 18th-century church. After the space’s desacralization, they now shower in the sacristy and sun-bathe in the old grave yard. The Sleepers bought the Missourian cave in which they live today on eBay, while the Reuss family reside in a house built from recycled materials from Boston’s Big Dig. In Germany, a water tower dating from the early...

Ikea City, Sweden (2009)

Sixty years ago, the village's child prodigy, Ingvar Kamprad, was seventeen years old and sold matches. Contrary to the modest trade as Andersen portrays, this will be the starting point of a fabulous empire. Kampgrad quickly founded his own company selling pens, furniture, socks... He names it Ikea, an acronym of his initials, that of his village and that of his farm. The legend is born. Today, Ikea has 267 stores in 35 countries, with sales figures of 21 Billion euros. The kid selling matches is 83 now, he lives in Switzerland, and enjoys a modest fortune estimated at 33 Billion dollars. The small, cosmopolitan town of Älmhult maintains its quiet life, religiously paced by the...

Karadzic's new age adventure, Serbia (2009)

On the run for 12 years, Rodovan Karadzic lived using the fake identity of Dragan Dabic, natural medicine specialist, when he was arrested in Belgrade on the July 22nd 2008. The former chief of Bosnia's Serbian people is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. At the time of his arrest, Dragan Dabic was quickly becoming somewhat of a celebrity in Belgrade: he had his own column in a national magazine and he was collaborating with a well-known sexologist on a novel form of sperm-rejuvenation therapy. Lars Tunbjork went to Belgrade and photographed those who met with him during these 12 years. From a nationalist bar keeper to followers of alternative medicine,...

Food Fighters, USA (2009)

International food prices raised by almost 40 percent in 2008, indicating that the monetary price is finally catching up with the true costs of cheap food : obesity in the U.S., malnutrition in developing countries and environmental degradation everywhere. Portraits of young leaders who are changing the way we eat.

Vinter, Sweden (2008)

The photographs in the Vinter series deal with the mental state we enter during the dark period of the year. Between 2004 and 2007, Lars Tunbjork travelled around Sweden, trying to capture the mood that the winter months put us in here in northern Europe. The project became a way of doing something creative with the feelings of depression that beset him in the winter season. He shows us snowed-in playgrounds, streets and houses, but the selection of pictures also includes interiors, from cafes, restaurants and shops. We see people in their homes, at work or at parties.This series of photographs has another tone, another colour ranger, another temperament than his previous work, yet we...

Kiruna, Sweden (2008)

Located in the far ends of Sweden, the city of Kiruna came out of the ground to serve the exploitation of the most important iron mine in the world. Authorities had wanted to make it as the spearhead of the Sweden conquest of its territory. Lars Tunbjork draws here the portrait of the inhabitants of a city, which, in summer, never sees the sunset. It’s moreover a portrait of the whole city that Lars Tunbjork makes: but not in a documentary way. Architecture, as well as inhabitants, becomes a character that occupies the frame and strikes a pose for the photographer.

Golf in China (2005)

Golf comes to the Middle Kingdom, with sometimes curious results. For all intents and purposes, golf in China is just 20 years old. t hasn't evolved. It has arrived full-blown, in its high-end and even slightly decadent form. The first modern course, an Arnold Palmer design, opened in 1984. Another dozen or so were added in the decade following. But in the last 10 years the total has soared to 230, making China second in Asia in terms of golf course acreage (behind Japan), and though there is supposed to be a moratorium on constructing courses, new ones seem to spring up every month.

Sports in Dubai

Dubai is certainly one of the best spot in the world for sports : one can choose between a round of golf on a course watered by 2,256 sprinklers, a cricket match played on imported English soil, tennis, field hockey, Formula 1, camel races, or even skiing ! The Emirati billionaires pursue their quest to provide the biggest and best of everything.

Rebels against the waves, Sweden

In Sweden, some people are acknowledged as electrosensitive. They accuse electromagnetic waves to be the cause of the itches, migraines or dizziness they suffer, and use different methods to protect themselves. The scientist are divided on the question.

Big boys will be cowboys, USA

Lars Tunbjork invites us to the land of great spaces, and of children dreams. The cowboy, mythic character of John Ford’ films, rises to a burlesque existence, by the way of the photographer work. We meet, of course, a John Wayne in cardboard, but also really Far West inhabitants.

I love Boras, Sweden

I Love Boras is Lars Tunbjörk’s document of an aimless journey around Sweden between 1988 and 1995. Supermarkets, parties, small town streets, amusement parks, gas stations, TV-shows, landscapes, food. During that time Tunbjörk was working on his series "Landet utom sig" (Country Beside Itself), but these images were not used in that series because they didn’t fit, they were too ugly, too beautiful or too silly. Together they show a darker and more hysteric view of modern western society and Sweden during the economic recession of the early nineties.


Offices in New York, Tokyo, Stockholm, are the place of a life that people lose while earning it, they are unbearable. Nightmares made of electric cables, depressing cafeterias, fake spaces, absurd tidy up, they become through the eye of Lars Tunbjork the most radical call for rebellion for a renewed « right to laziness ». This work, which with « Home », constitutes discreetly and without obvious agressivity the most implacable critic of our system, a work extremely political under a perfectly acceptable cover, is only possible with a perfect control of color, which becomes the material of the picture.

Home, Sweden

Swedish housing plot. An artificial and sterilized empty place which is starting to be disturbing.

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes film festival is often remembered with conventionnal pictures : a red carpet, some stars... But Lars Tunbjork is offering here his quirky look on this big mass of the international cinema. Photographs full of micros and video cameras, of personnalities or random people. Stars always on the run, between two flashes. Lars Tunbjork shows us the excess of the most mediatic festival of the world.


Lars Tunbjörk - Retrospective

Initially inspired by Swedish masters such as Christer Strömholm, as well as Stephen Shore, Lars Tunbjörk (1956–2015) was one of the great and truly original European photographers. Tunbjörk's international breakthrough came in 1993 with the photobook Country beside Itself.
Celebrated by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger as "an acute observer of modern life," Tunbjörk's color images amplified the mundane and the absurd in a quietly surreal fashion using the hard light of flash photography, which became his signature style and influenced a subsequent generation of photographers.
With more than 250 images, this volume constitutes the most substantial overview of his work.
Text by: Kathy Ryan, Göran Odbratt et Maud Nycander

Publisher: Max Strom (2018)
336 pages
Size: 29,2 x 26,7 cm  

Every Day

On reconnaît immédiatement, tant dans le cadre que dans la palette, l’approche de ce suédois qui s’est imposé par une pratique de la couleur et un point de vue radical qu’il a expérimenté d’abord dans son pays. Venu de la tradition de la presse et du reportage en noir et blanc pour les quotidiens,il a jeté un regard critique sur son pays et ses contemporains et, à force de nous faire rire, le cocasse de Landet utom sig – Ed. Journal, 1993 – devenait déprimant. L’univers de la consommation et des loisirs, placés dans la perspective dévastatrice d’une capacité rare à dépister l’absurde des situations et des comportements était traduit dans un éclat de couleurs qui ajoutaient à l’ironie mordante de l’ensemble. Un univers de pacotille, regardé avec un sens critique dénué de méchanceté, nous renvoyait à toutes les dérisions. Cette approche, qui s’est affinée au cours des ans, avait tiré les leçons des grands coloristes américains qui, dans les années soixante-dix, imposèrent le fait que la couleur, en photographie, n’était pas seulement une possibilité technique de plus en plus performante dans la restitution de la « vérité » du réel mais bien une matière de la photographie et qu’il fallait composer – à tous les sens du terme – avec elle. Lars Tunbjörk s’inscrit, très clairement, dans la logique de cette révolution des coloristes d’outre-Atlantique. Il arrive après, poursuit la démarche en affrontant la couleur de la façon la plus directe qui soit, et il est européen.
Extrait du texte de Christian Caujolle
Text by: Christian Caujolle.

Publisher: Editions Diaphane (2012)
72 pages
Size: 19 x 27,3 cm  

I Love Boras

I Love Borås is Lars Tunbjörk’s document of an aimless journey around Sweden, his home country. Supermarkets, parties, small town streets, amusement parks, gas stations, TV-shows, landscapes, food. A dark and hysteric view of modern western society and Sweden during the economic recession of the early nineties.

Publisher: Steidl (2007)
200 pages
Size: 35x28 cm  


Co-published with Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Lars Tunbjörk has travelled around Sweden in an attempt to capture the atmosphere of the winter months for people living in Scandinavia. The project started as a means of surviving the dark part of the year. This series of photographs has a different mood, colour range and temperament compared to his previous work, but his style, his understated humour and often absurd subject matter are still unmistakable.

Publisher: Steidl Publishing (2007)
192 pages
Size: 23 x 28 cm  

Dom alla

Dom alla är en perspektivrik och reflekterande dokumentär skildring av socialt arbete. Författaren Göran Odbratt och fotografen Lars Tunbjörk har gjort upprepade besök i nagra svenska kommuner - främst Umea, Borlänge, Smedjebacken, Sundsvall och Botkyra.
Text by: Göran Odbratt

Publisher: Edition Journal (2005)
ISBN :91-974182-7-7   


Lars Tunbjörk returned to his childhood neighborhood to photograph his mother's house. The experience intrigued him, and he continued shooting in similar areas around Sweden. Saturated with other people's personal memories, his photographs convey the peculiar atmosphere of silence familiar in middle-class housing districts, not only in Sweden but in other countries as well.
Text by: Goran Odbratt

Publisher: Editions Steidl (2003)
106 pages
Size: 29x26,5 cm  


Lars Tunbjörk pictures people in the place where they spend much of their day: at work. In office buildings he photographs the personnel in the rigidly designed work environment. In these sterile work spaces, however, each person still expresses their individuality. They add something personal to the bleak furnishings, as a result of which each photo will tell its own, inscrutable story. In each photograph a balance between humour and sadness becomes apparent, a human factor that is at odds with the strict organisation of the work.

Publisher: Editions Journal (2002)
116 pages
ISBN :9197362972   

Landet utom sig

Text by: Thomas Tidholm, Göran Greider

Publisher: Editions Journal (1993)
112 pages
ISBN :91-630-1834-9   

Paris 200 Ar Efterat

Herman Lindqvist och Lars Tunbjörk har naturligtvis spanat in dem. Pa varje gata, i varje byggnad, pa varje plats laddad med händelser, öden, har de tva gjort sina efterforskningar.
Text by: Herman Lindqvist

Publisher: Wiken (1989)
160 pages
ISBN :91-7024-532-0   

Photography Unbounded

Den unge svenske press-och reportagefotografen Lars Tunbjörk spänner över ett brett register i sin profession, men när han väljer själv är det inte mot samhällets utkanter han riktar sin kamera.
Text by: Per Lindström

Publisher: Trydells trychen (1987)
88 pages
ISBN :91-87300-02-8   


    2005 - World Press Photo Award

    2003 - TERRE D'IMAGES Award

    2003 - PHE03 PhotoEspana


L.A. Office (Boras)
From 2020-07-16 to 2020-09-30

Lars Tunbjörk had intended to publish L.A. Office (2004) as a book. The series portrays deserted office settings in a building complex in Los Angeles. Unlike his other familiar pictures from offices bustling with activities and human presence, L.A. Office is characterised by the lack thereof. Only the furniture remains, and typical office attributes such as computers, equipment, photocopying paper and coffee mugs are conspicuously absent. No writing or information is posted on the notice board, all evidence is erased. The pictures allow us to imagine what activities went on here, what...

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Phantom offices (Bruxelles)
From 2019-01-23 to 2019-06-30

Collective exhibition Held in the former administrative offices of the Citroën garage, this new exhibition gathers design objects from the collections of MNAM-CCI, Centre Pompidou and ADAM – Brussels Design Museum. The offices serve here as a tribute to anti-design and offer up a critique of functionalism. Work has here made way for sleep, play and the reappropriation of objects.

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I love Boras, Office, Vinter (Toulouse)
From 2013-01-17 to 2013-03-17

C'est avec un sens profond de la couleur et toute l'ironie mordante qui caractérise son regard que Lars Tunbjörk construit une œuvre singulière qui dresse le portrait de ses contemporains en mettant en forme les cohérences et les incohérences de la société dans laquelle nous vivons. Le Château d'Eau a choisi de déployer sur ses cimaises trois ensembles qui marquent l'œuvre de ce photographe suédois. Des ensembles de propositions plastiques et de modes de présentations variés, qui, du plus ancien au plus récent, soulignent l'engagement politique et artistique d'un auteur qui conjugue avec...

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I love Boras (Sète)
From 2010-05-13 to 2010-05-30

Lars Tunbjörk shares with us, without judging, his global view of the development of our society, which is obsessed with consumerism. The series “I love Boras”, inspired by his native town, describes a Sweden of the 1990s at the height of mutation. His art of photography, easily recognized, is distinguished especially for his sense of colour, his humour and his capability to catch the instantaneous mise-en-scene of daily-life without falling into the anecdote. Lars Tunbjörk brings to light the incoherencies of the world and shows that beyond appearances our universe is quite frightening. An...

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A plunge into winter in Sweden (Phnom Penh)
From 2009-11-28 to 2009-12-21

Photophnompenh Festival Lars TUNBJORK comes from the world of press photography (he first worked in black and white for a Swedish daily newspaper). Over the years, he then became one of the greatest contemporary colorists – in a more and more radical process of elimination of anecdotes. He is also one of those who succeeded in avoiding ’trends’, to invent a writing that belongs only to him. First, with crushing humor, he painted, without any malice, the foibles of his contemporaries, by inventing absurd situations and functioning, especially around consumption. He had a crazy vision which,...

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Photo month - I love Boras (Paris)
From 2008-11-09 to 2009-01-25

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Représentations du monde du travail (Mulhouse)
From 2008-05-09 to 2008-07-05

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