ISSUE 1  |  Office Space

Plants on the Job: A Cautionary Tale

January 08, 2014 5:00 PM

BY Erin Boyle

Not all office plants get the love and attention they deserve. 

When San Francisco-based photographer Kirk Crippens began work on Foreclosure, USA–an examination of the effects of the foreclosure crisis in Stockton, CA–he found himself in the upper office of a shuttered grocery store. He explains: “The place was a bit of a mess, and in the corner of the office I came across a forgotten houseplant. It was a sad sight and as far as I know, the only living thing that was left behind.” Crippens took a photograph of the plant, and after shooting that first lonely office plant, found himself inspired to capture photographs of its neglected compatriots in other workspaces.

Crippens largely allowed the project, called Plants on the Job, to progress serendipitously, occasionally relying on tips from friends who would call saying, “Have I got a plant for you.”

Below is a sampling from Crippens’ collection. But he explains that the work is not complete. And yes, in case you know of an office plant that’s suffered more than its share of neglect, Crippens is still taking tips. Leave your tales of office plant woe in the comments section below.

Above: A near leafless philodendron perched next to a troubling sign.

Above: A decidedly unlucky bamboo.

Above: A plant so far gone that we’re not sure what it might have been. Any guesses?

Above: Ponytail palm gone wrong? We think so.

Above: Looks like this umbrella tree is in desperate need of a rain shower.

Above: Crippens hasn’t named the individual photographs in his collection, but we’re calling this one Death by Plate Glass Window. The poor little jungle got positively fried.

Have we depressed you? Quick: browse our collection of posts on thriving Houseplants.