Our castoffs have a soul and a perilous beauty—they will survive even when we fall.

This series was started in 2009 in the coves of San Pietro, an island off the coast of Sardinia. The project, titled ENOSIM*, narrates an initiatory journey, the beginning of a process of deeper exploration. The journey traces a “crowd of empty cans,” that after crossing the seas finally sink onto our shores, exhausted and dented. Originally untouchables, these souls have slowly transformed themselves into wandering, though forgotten, knights.

Both in summer and in winter, I came across them and they talked to me. I photographed their souls. This odd crowd brought me very far back, into ancient times. In these useless, broken containers, I found rich content: humanity, nobility and anger. These places and moments of meeting I faithfully recorded with my camera. At the same time, my subjects also remain pieces of plastic, empty containers which clutter and despoil nature. They are the result of our actions: a mirror of our civilization as well as a symbol of its memory. For all these reasons, they will survive us.

ENOSIM* also tells a human story: that of our society. We should live in awareness of what we throw away—we should live closer to our waste. These photographs aim to suggest a sort of artistic empathy, flowing from this plastic flood into our everyday environment. The series tries to demonstrate the urgency of doing something for our planet: time flows, our time approaches, it is important to sort things out soon.

Finally, these images carry a message of hope. After all, the substance of our waste has the ability to transform itself without disappearing. My images invite us to accept this change of state, a shift from the ephemerality of life to an unknown eternity. In everything, we can see the capacity to imagine, to hope, or even to dream of another body, another life, another function.

—Thierry Konarzewski


*Author’s note: Enosim is the first known name that was given to the island of San Pietro by the Phoenicians.