Complaining online, whether through sarcastic memes or pronounced Twitter kvetching, has become something of an art form. In supremely satisfying Instagram vignettes, soon-to-become a photo book titled WORK, Figuratively Speaking, photographer Derrick Lin literally turns his gripes about corporate culture into art, rendering them as humorous scenes of miniature figures acting out relatable and universally aggravating work struggles.
Dozens of images within the book, to be released in October through Rizzoli, display Lin's mastery of composing miniature scenes. A bus squashes a man atop an accusatory work email directed at Lin—a mini visualization of "being thrown under the bus." A hand rests on a mouse, its fingers held aloft by little men, as a clever way to depict the stomach-gurgling feeling of hitting send too soon.
Lin's iPhone-shot series originally began on his Instagram account, after the artist noticed a gap in how people grumble on social media. Rather than ranting on relationship or political struggles, Lin tackled the everyday problems he encountered at his job.
"About 3 years ago, I noticed that while we are in the era of social media where almost anything can be shared, people generally avoid sharing their complaints about work," Lin tells Creators. "We spend a good chunk of our time at our job, and naturally we have a lot of frustration from various sources."
"Working in advertising, I constantly have to deal with chaos and curveballs thrown at me from every direction. Seeing the absence of a proper outlet, I decided to challenge myself to turn those little mundane and frustrating moments I have at work into visual stories and inject humor in them," he adds. "The best medium I found for those 'little voices in my head' was the miniature figures. I then started utilizing them as a manifestation of my honest thoughts in a metaphorical or exaggerated way and started my photography series on Instagram."
Lin's images aren't solely about the trials and tribulations of work culture. More relieving and soothing moments get rendered too, like an image of a miniature water skier gliding on the folded edge of a piece of paper, accompanied by the caption, "We can afford to slack off after we finish a successful project." An almost childlike innocence and sense of adventure takes hold in his image of a miniature man with a hiking backpack standing on an airplane window. It's an earnest representation of the joys of traveling for work.
These lighter images seem more representative of the artist's philosophy and his own intentions with this body of work. "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," Lin says.
WORK, Figuratively Speaking by Derrick Lin will be available for purchase in October, but you can check out images from the book on the artist's Instagram.