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Book of the Week: A Pick by Forrest Soper

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Forrest Soper Forrest Soper selects High Fashion by Paweł Jaszczuk as Book of the Week.
High Fashion By Paweł Jaszczuk
Zen Foto Gallery, 2018.
Forrest Soper selects High Fashion by Paweł Jaszczuk from Zen Foto Gallery as Book of the Week.

"High Fashion by Paweł Jaszczuk collects a series of images taken of Japanese businessmen or salarymen between 1:00 and 4:00 am. Over the period of two years, Jaszczuk photographed these men, passed out from exhaustion on the streets, dressed in their finest business attire. Overworked, these men would be driven to the point that many individuals fell asleep while standing upright. However, many more can be seen sprawled across street corners, stairwells, and subway platforms. When salarymen can reportedly work as much as sixty hours per week and feel pressure to participate in nomikai or drinking parties after work, the inevitable result is many businessmen passing out before they can make it to their homes.

Jaszczuk’s taxonomical study of these men pushed to their limits paints a multifaceted picture of contemporary society. Men depart their fast-paced lifestyles for temporary relief, in an event both humorous and horrifying. As sleepers contort themselves, many seem to be posing as if they were fashion models — a motif only heightened by the book’s magazine inspired design. The obvious juxtaposition between crisp, tailored suits and the brutal streets is jarring and surreal. These men seem both tortured and at peace simultaneously, as they find relief where they can. Elegance meets depravity, as men exemplify both the pinnacle and the nadir of success simultaneously.

At the end of the day, High Fashion not only serves as a peculiar taxonomy but also a cautionary warning. Like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman or Dorthea Lange’s Mended Stockings, High Fashion ingeniously paints a picture of the economic and cultural hardships of a time and place. Paweł Jaszczuk has created a body of work that is hypnotically captivating and incredibly thought-provoking. Every time I read this book I am left with a newfound insight or revelation. High Fashion is a breathtaking publication that deserves to be on the bookshelf of every working professional."
— Forrest Soper

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High Fashion By Paweł Jaszczuk. Zen Foto Gallery, 2018.
High Fashion By Paweł Jaszczuk. Zen Foto Gallery, 2018.

Forrest Soper is an artist and photographer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest is the editor of photo-eye Blog, a former photochemical lab technician at Bostick & Sullivan, and a graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.