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This is Your Garbage, This is Your Waste 2018
This series is made possible by the excess of food waste in Lower Manhattan. Each image presents findings from a single evening spent searching through garbage bags on sidewalks. This project evokes the criticisms of the 17th-century Dutch painters, such as Pieter Claesz and Rembrandt, who used decadent fruit and delicacies to depict the almost comical extravagance they were paid to capture. This is Your Garbage, This is Your Waste is a response to the evolution of consumer culture, its casual existence in systemic routines, and the neglect to address the resulting food crisis.
According to the New York Times, in this city alone, 14 million tons of waste are thrown out yearly and 1.2 million residents are food insecure.
Note from Madeleine: It is essential to recognize the privilege with which I produced this project. To search through trash, "dumpster dive" without real fear of danger or necessity is not an accurate portrayal of the realities experienced by many who turn to this method of finding food to eat, disproportionately so if they are people of color. Please consider reparations and mutual aid via local organizations, community fridges, Venmo/Cash App/etc, and otherwise giving money and/or food to those unhoused or asking.
A place to begin with New York City resources: