7 Days of Garbage
Project info

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wondered about garbage - where does it go and what happens when we run out of places to put it? With 7 Days of Garbage, I call attention to the crisis of waste and consumption by personalizing it. I asked family, friends, neighbors and other acquaintances to save their trash and recyclables for a week and then lie down and be photographed in it. I included my family because I want my 8-year-old son to understand that we’re contributing to the problem, too. I asked people to include their recyclables for several reasons: 1) packaging is excessive; 2) recycling plastic has steep environmental costs; 3) much of what is designated recyclable does not make it to the recycling plant (a great deal winds up in our oceans, for instance).

I created the settings for the pictures, in my own yard in Altadena, California: water, forest, beach and snow. My aim is to illustrate how pervasive garbage is; no natural environment is untouched. By personalizing the problem of waste – by starting with myself and working outwards from there, I’ve found that some are considering the issue more deeply. Many have said the process of saving their garbage and then laying in it reconciled them to a need for change. Some are taking small steps to mitigate the crisis. Reflecting on the pictures I’ve made so far, I see 7 Days of Garbage as instant archeology, a record not only of our waste but of our values – values that may be evolving a little.