the beauty of garbage?

This summer I spent a lot of early mornings walking Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, Mass picking up garbage. What started July 5th as a way to make the weekend better for everyone turned into something else.

Late in August, I wanted to sleep in, but I realized that I had really habituated or even ritualized my beach clean-up. I had become obsessive. I panicked that if I didn’t pick up garbage that day some kid could cut their foot and ruin their family’s much-needed vacation, or people would think Town Neck is a gross beach and not want to return.

My hypothetical thoughts raced. This wasn’t actually my job. I decided I had to take the day off, I was getting a little weird about it all.

Looking back at my summer now, I’m really proud of what I did. I felt purposeful in a time of American life that feels so surreal. I was thanked by many other sunrise beach walkers. I met some really interesting people. And as a photographer, the light was just so gorgeous every single day sun or fog or in-between. I found a lot of shovels and toys, but of course people are naturally leery about picking up things like that now.

These photos may make some people disappointed in humanity, but rest assured all of these items were picked up and saved from polluting the ocean during the next high tide. Now, on to the streets of Burlington, Vermont.

women of elegant power…

I have my own thoughts about the stories of these women. However, I want you to use your own imaginations. What we see is so subjective based on our own experience.

I will offer this though, from my perspective, they are not hiding.

“Maybe I see things from a little bit farther away—which is a good thing. If you’re an artist, you see things differently than most people anyway.” —Nicole Farhi, London Sculptor

I created this work by painting over magazine images, photographing them with objects, and then playing in Adobe Photoshop. They’re all from the pages of Vogue and Kinfolk (Nicole Farhi is pictured in the striped shirt). I found beauty, narrative, and true artistry in the gorgeous original magazine images, of course. However, when I look beneath the surface of the subjects and models there’s far more than meets the eye at first glance.

Have fun making up your own stories about these women & please challenge your initial assumptions. I had far more fun when I dug a little deeper and noticed my quick judgments & hard-wired biases.