Reflections on the Beach Trash series

Published by eliza on

Unfortunately, I’m missing the artists’ talk at the Spectra 2023 exhibition at Artscape Youngplace. I wrote this to be read out in my absence.

When I deliberately started photographing garbage back in 2006, I was working in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. In most respects, Tanzanian cities are extremely chaotic, and solid waste management is no exception. Many people, especially women, eke out a bare living collecting other people’s trash and dumping it wherever they can. Piles of garbage abound in ravines and river valleys, out of sight and out of mind. The average person doesn’t pay much attention to where the waste goes — litter and other garbage gets routinely dropped on beaches in the city centre that aren’t tourist destinations. And no one picks it up!

Seagulls Take Flight, 2022 — seagulls surfing the Indian Ocean waves are overshadowed by pieces of beach trash

I took up this thread again last year after observing that, in some ways, things aren’t much better here in Toronto, in our parks and on our beaches. I continued looking for ways to capture this visual and environmental pollution in an artistic and striking way.

I produce the raw material for these collages by “posing” interesting pieces of garbage so that the light strikes it in an interesting way, with an appropriately neutral background. Then I look for classically beautiful scenes from gardens, the ocean shore, a sunrise over the lake, a city skyline – you get the idea. Finally, I take advantage of other work, such as my ongoing documentation of the Great Lakes where I captured a cruise ship docked in the Welland Canal. Putting it all together is the most fun part, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and always learning more stuff about the magic of Photoshop.

To continue this conversation, write to me at eliza_moore@yahoo. Even better, purchase one of these pieces so that you can enjoy it in your home or office! And be reminded that we can all contribute to reducing our waste production.

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