Historically, occupations have been distinguished by the physical presentation of oneself. Though the image of white-collar is now commonly applied to the majority of working class in the U.S., the white shirt continues to contain the notion of formality, describing today’s immaculate businessmen. Because our society is visually-based, a person wearing office attire will have the impression of professionalism, but can also be an intimidating presence to others.
As a foreigner, I could not escape the stereotypical rigid and severe images of New York businessmen. They are not portrayed as fatherly or friendly, but are impenetrable, fierce, and independent. These stereotypical perceptions of businessmen as private group of people made it challenging for me to approach and to understand the essence of them as individuals.
However, this series has made me discover their hidden sincere characteristics: neighborly and extroverted attitudes, and sometimes a vulnerable side. Particularly on the street, different personalities distinguish one person from another. While morning rush hour may show the stereotypical businessmen, their vibrant energy during lunch hour matches my understanding of New York City. I am investigating the timeless values of the businessmen to discover their humanness.
— Eui-Jip Hwang