Into trash…

“Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes.” Peter Koestenbaum   The emerging of the “Trash Project”! A few months ago during our daily walks and the change in the energy of the space in which we walk due to the field being fenced in and the woods enclosed behind that fence. Oh there are ways to still get in the woods it is just that our course has changed with Muffin’s ageing, so the exercise path is more our course around the field. Those walks had always been decorated with litter, plastic bags of course, water bottles, coffee cups, beer cans, an occasional childs toy which were left after game. My inner child caused me to collect  those toys, space aliens, soldiers, movie action figures, cars and truck, a little girls barrettes. I even found a cell phone once, I call someone on the call list so they could reclaim it.

Lost Head
Lost Head

All this began sometime ago but the “Trash Project” came about with the boundary changes and the grooming, cutting back the hedges and trees to create the walking path. On those reclaimed area new treasures emerged buried trash. At sometime the area must have been land filled, of course people use wooded areas to dump in for years… I know this all sound awful and sad, in many ways it is. Yet nature has her way of reclaiming what is naturally hers.

The Soldier
The Soldier

I have photographed this area for past 6-7 years now, my portfolio and mission to photograph the beauty all around are  testament of evolutions expressions of beauty. So you all don’t think I walk around a dump, it is not that way at all.  What I hope to express with this project is what I try to express with my nature photos. That beauty can be found in the everyday, just see it. I saw a form of creativity in the litter.

McD bag
McD bag

I had no clear objective I was looking for something creative something different to occupy my time during Mom’s transition. She had gone in rehab, my camera’s shutter release crapped out, iPhoto had malfunctioned, I thought I had lost months worth of work!  I was like oh my God I can’t take photographs, my creative expression, my meditation practice has been cut off!!

The Shape of things
The Shape of things

I had just gotten my first smartphone, an iPhone 4s which I knew nothing much about yet the camera would still allow me to take photos but I wasn’t sure what that would be like. So taking photos of “trash” seemed to be a good test. Plus the filters on the camera, and instagram app allowed for more creativity that I really hadn’t worked with before.  The emergence of the “Trash Project”

the chew
the chew

The first to photographs of found objects, one on sight, the other photographed at home before the Trash Project was truly born. The next three are part the ongoing project! Taken where found, a bit of filter via instagram or iPhone ! I bet you will never look at litter/trash the same again!

25 thoughts on “Into trash…”

  1. Oh, wow, Jeff, I adore your trash photos! You know me, I’m all about finding beauty in the everyday. I can’t even pick my favorite. Lovely work, my friend.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  2. I am thrilled that you not only like this project that you “adore” the photos! Yes Kathy I had you in the back of my mind while composing this. I was going to link one of your repurposes blogs. I still might or we can do a interview/guest blog! How’s that sound!

    Thank you so much!

  3. Jeff your creative drive seems to find its way no matter what barriers may seem to be about to thwart the process. Congratulations – it is a great project! Mayne Island trash does not last long before it disappears into some recycling box or another. Therefore, when we were traveling in Europe I was surprised to see trash left everywhere when it would be just as easy to pick it up and dispose of as the recycle bins and garbage bins were usually readily available. There seems to be this idea that it is the job of someone else or something. I am glad to see you are making good use of what is left behind.

    1. The power to create is a magical, the process that keeps me motivated.
      Thank you so much! I am surprised by the responses here and on other sites, and very grateful!
      The space is a community center and sports field, so anytime there is an event, there is always litter left behind, even when bins are provided. Use to drive me crazy.

  4. I love your photos . What an interesting project.. I have always maintained there is beauty in everything you have to look between the lines .
    I have a friend who has a basic camera and no photographic training . She showed me a photo once I have never forgot . It was basically a beach , a rusty pipe and a rag …it was beautiful .

    1. Cherry,

      I needed a new creative challenge which is fun and local. Yes talent does not depend on the camera or equipment. Creativity relies on intuition and the “eye”. Which it seems your friend to have!

      Best to you,


  5. This is a very thought-provoking post, Jeff. I love how you described the path as “decorated with litter” – that is certainly an interesting way of looking at trash. The doll’s head creeped me out, but it is a compelling photograph, as is the soldier. Too often I have to remove cigarette butts from my garden – now I’m wondering what could be done with those!

    1. Some how Barbara I almost missed your response!!

      I used the phrase “decorated with litter” to keep what could have been very dark on the humorous fun side… Thanks for pointing that out!
      I have followed this doll head all over the woods. It has stayed in the same place for a the longest time. Than someone moved it allowing it to get caught up in the rain wash the rushing through during storms.
      I think finding creativity in the midst of all that was going on for me was and is the “sanity” that moved me from day to day!

  6. Thank you for explaining your process, Jeff. What an eye and propelling of self to find art not only in the extravagant, or ordinary, but in the ‘dark’ side as some may call it. I love your eye and art!

    1. Kashzka,

      The wonder of being creative is finding the ways to be creative in a world saturated with “stuff”! I am grateful for your encouragement and support!

  7. I’m most appreciative of you sharing your photography, Jeff. From exquisite, to ordinary, to ‘beauty in the eye of the beholder’.
    Viewing your process here is wonderful!
    May we all look at things with a different perspective, thanks to you!

    1. Kashzka,

      That is what photography is about, sharing. I have been given a gift to accomplish this and the gift is one to share!
      Thank you for your appreciation!

  8. Trash photos are the Best! That lost head photo is exquisite. Simply exquisite! (I am not sure if the doll thinks so, though…lol…)

  9. This is such a unique perspective, and an inspiring reminder to re-examine the forgotten or overlooked. Garbage like this surrounds us and we don’t typically give it a second though. These photos are fascinating, beautiful, and haunting.

  10. What a wonderful response to “reality”, Jeff. I love the way you reveal the beauty that exists, in the objects of litter that many people probably simply tune out !! PS Happy Birthday tomorrow.

    1. Deb,

      Thank you so much ! Yes I was trying to create and “see” something different. Using a different tool, mostly my iPhone these subjects appeared.

      Thank you for the early Birthday wish!

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